These Drugs Could Increase Your Risk of Dementia

Dr. Sharon Orrange
Dr. Orrange is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
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When asked about the medical conditions they fear the most, adults overwhelmingly answer dementia, specifically Alzheimers dementia. Treatment options for dementia are dismal, so the focus needs to be on prevention. Many risk factors for dementia are things you can control: diabetes, high blood pressure, physical inactivity and even some medications.

Multiple studies have found an association between the use of certain medication classes with dementia and cognitive (thinking, understanding, learning, remembering) impairment in older adults. For the medications on this list, the effects are worse at higher doses taken for extended periods of time. Most of these cognitive effects can be resolved if you stop the medication, but there is a chance that some may not.

In any case, if a medication can impact your mind long term, you should know. If you are taking any of the following medications, you might want to consider talking with your doctor about your risk for cognitive impairment and dementia.


Proton pump inhibitors

Opioid pain medications

Atypical benzodiazepines/insomnia meds

To those suffering from dementia, or caring for a loved one who is, we are with you.

Dr O.

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Edited 1/18/17 to include links to relevant studies.

Drugs featured in this story

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