Researchers from 20 European centres of the European Alzheimer's Disease Consortium (EADC) studied 880 Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) patients (375 males, 505 females) older than 55 years old and without obvious causes of cognitive impairment. MCI is considered to be an intermediate stage between normal age-related cognitive decline and dementia. A complete history was obtained for all patients. In addition, demographical data were collected and several factors were studied, including the types and dosages of the medications taken.
Dr Vasileios Papaliagkas, the corresponding author of the paper, pointed that the vast majority of MCI patients were taking at least one medication, whereas slightly less than half of the patients (40%) took at least 4 medications. The types of medications that were most often taken for concomitant diseases were cardiovascular drugs (62.0%), antidepressants (16.8%), sedatives (14.6%), thyroid drugs (10.0%) and anti-diabetic drugs (7.6%). Drugs with anticholinergic effects may affect cognition in the elderly and their simultaneous use might cause cognitive impairment and reduction in daily functioning activities. They should be given with caution and only with a doctor's prescription and over the counter drugs should be avoided. The existence of medical co-morbidities does not appear to increase the risk of dementia progression. Female and less educated patients are more likely to take medications.
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Reference: Tsolaki, M.; et al (2016). MCI Patients in Europe: Medication and Comorbidities. The DESCRIPA Study. Curr Alzheimer Res., DOI: 10.2174/1567205013666160603002704