Tags: memory | loss | confusion | brain fog | medication | antidepressants | benzodiazepines

Medications That Can Cause Memory Loss

man looking confused, forgetful
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By    |   Tuesday, 09 May 2023 02:51 PM EDT

That memory loss, brain fog or confusion you are experiencing could be due to a medication you are taking. While alcohol and drug abuse, cigarette smoking, sleep deprivation, vitamin B12 deficiency, and of course Alzheimer’s disease and depression can trigger loss of memory, drugs in your medicine chest can have memory robbing powers, too.

According to AARP, these are some examples:

  1. Antianxiety drugs. Benzodiazepines are used to treat a variety of anxiety disorders and have a sedative effect which can dampen activity in key parts of the brain, including those responsible for transferring short-term to long-term memory. Experts recommend that these drugs, such as Xanax and Librium, should be prescribed only rarely for older adults who have more trouble than younger people in flushing the medication out of their system. This puts older folks at higher risk for memory loss as well as delirium, falls, fractures, and motor vehicle accidents.
  2. Narcotic painkillers. Opioids are sometimes prescribed to relieve moderate to severe pain from surgery or injuries. Vicodin and Oxycontin are some examples. These pain relievers work by stopping pain signals within the central nervous system and by blunting the emotional reaction to pain. Both these actions involve chemical messengers that are also involved in cognition, so using these drugs for extended periods of time can interfere with memory. Researchers have also found a link between opioid use and an increased risk for dementia.
  3. Tricyclic antidepressants. These medicines are prescribed for a wide range of conditions that include depression, anxiety, and smoking cessation, says Memorial Satilla Health. The Women’s Brain Health Initiative reports that memory loss occurs in about one-third of the people who take them because the drug blocks the action of neurotransmitters in the brain. Some examples include Anafranil and Norpramin.
  4. Antiseizure drugs. These medications are used not only to treat seizures but also to alleviate nerve pain, bipolar disorder, mood disorders and mania, says AARP. Diamox and Tegretol are two examples. They work by dampening the flow of signals withing the central nervous system (CNS). Drugs that depress signaling in the CNS can also cause memory loss.
  5. Sleep aids. Drugs like Lunesta, Sonata and Ambien can be used to treat sleep problems, such as insomnia and even mild anxiety. Although they differ molecularly from benzodiazepines, they travel the same pathways in the brain and produce similar side effects and problems with addiction and withdrawal. They can also cause amnesia and strange behaviors such as driving a car with no recollection of the incident.

Experts advise talking to your healthcare provider if you are experiencing medication side effects, such as memory loss, to potentially switch to a safer medication for you. Remember that taking multiple medications can also cause loss of memory function, as well as an increased risk of delirium. Statistics show that 42% of older adults take five or more prescription drugs. Don’t stop taking any medication without consulting with you doctor.

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Health-News
That memory loss, brain fog or confusion you are experiencing could be due to a medication you are taking. While alcohol and drug abuse, cigarette smoking, sleep deprivation, vitamin B12 deficiency, and of course Alzheimer's disease and depression can trigger loss of...
memory, loss, confusion, brain fog, medication, antidepressants, benzodiazepines, narcotics, sleep, antiseizure
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2023-51-09
Tuesday, 09 May 2023 02:51 PM
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