March 23, 2017 – Brain Damage and Medicines


Anchor lead: Taking too many medicines that affect the brain has consequences, Elizabeth Tracey reports

At least three medicines that impact the brain- the number of older Americans who are on such a regimen has doubled over a decade, a recent study finds. Constantine Lyketsos, director of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, sounds a note of warning.

Lyketsos: Some of these medicines are risk factors for dementia whether they directly cause brain damage that leads to dementia or whether they affect the brain in such a way that they unmask a brain process and therefore lead to dementia is not clear. Also we know that these medicines or some of them are prescribed to patients or individuals with dementia that they seem to accelerate progression. So their increased use raises concerns both for an increased occurrence of dementia, in relationship to these and also for a worse outcome.  :33

Lyketsos says all medicines should only be taken for an appropriate period of time, and reassessment is continuously needed, as the effects may be cumulative or interactive. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.