Despite the fact that they are frequently turned to for relief, prescription drugs cause over 100,000 deaths per year and place nearly 1.5 million people in the hospital due to severe side effects (1). The harsh reality is that many of these drugs are rushed through approval before the drugs patent runs out, leaving not nearly enough time for adequate testing and causing a host of problems among the public. Many of these drugs are actually meds that cause memory loss.
Top 3 Types of Meds That Cause Memory Loss
Some side effects of these drugs are so severe that they have been found to affect the brain and cause memory loss. Here we cover the three categories known to cause memory loss and cognitive problems:
1. The “Anti” Drugs
Drugs such as antihistamines, antidepressants, antipsychotics, antibiotics, antispasmodics, or antihypertensives, inhibit the activity of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which plays a critical role in memory and cognitive function.
Unfortunately, many of these drugs are available over the counter, therefore causing even further damage to those who have not had proper doses measured out for them (2) .
2. Sleeping Pills
A common side effect of sleeping pills is both short and long term memory loss. In fact it has been found that all sleeping pills produce some level of impaired memory and performance. Sleeping pills suppress the action potentials of a wide variety of brain cells and reduce our alertness, vigilance, and judgement (3).
Sleeping pills have been known to create a state similar to “blacking out”, which occurs when a person has too much alcohol in their system and are unable to recall previous events due to damaged brain cells (4)
3. Statin Drugs
The FDA has recently began to advise consumers and professionals to monitor their use of these cholesterol-lowering medications due to reports of cognitive impairment and memory loss.
It’s been reported that the drug can cause patients to feel “fuzzy” or unfocused in their thinking, along with a sudden frequency of feeling forgetful (5).
20 Meds That Cause Memory Loss
To help keep you informed on the risk of these prescription meds (or drugs), here is a list of medications known to have memory loss as a side effect (6):
- for Parkinson’s — scopolamine, atropine, glycopyrrolate
- for epilepsy — phenytoin or Dilantin
- painkillers — heroin, morphine, codeine
- sleeping pills — Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata
- benzodiazepines — Valium, Xanax, Ativan, Dalmane
- antibiotics (quinolones)
- high blood pressure drugs
- beta blockers (especially those used for glaucoma)
- antipsychotics — Haldol, Mellaril
- tricyclic antidepressants
- barbiturates — Amytal, Nembutal, Seconal, phenobarbital
- chemotherapy drugs
If you are on any of the drugs listed above or find yourself exhibiting any signs of memory loss, such as (7):
- Asking the same questions repeatedly
- Forgetting common words when speaking
- Getting lost
- Undergoing sudden changes in mood or behavior, or
- Having difficulty following directions
Then it may be time to discuss finding a new form of treatment with your doctor. The good news is that often these side effects are temporary and will lessen and eventually stop once the medication is removed.
So, the sooner you start making healthier lifestyle choices to improve your health, the faster you can get off these detrimental meds. Eat a diet rich in brain-boosting nutrients, stay active and focus on positive thoughts!
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