Prescription Medications

Drugs, especially pain meds, psychotropic drugs, and statins (which target the very substance of which the brain is made) can disrupt cognition.

Tips to Consider

Singly or in combination, prescription and non-prescription medications can cause dizziness, disorientation, amnesia, sleepiness, confusion, and more.  Often, just reducing the number of medications can be beneficial for older adults.

The link between statin drug use and memory loss is highly debated.  There is a subset of the population that has reported memory problems while taking a statin drug, and a few studies support this finding.  There are also studies to the contrary.  One-quarter of the body’s cholesterol is found in the brain, and it is clearly important for memory and brain function.  Results of a study reported in March 2018 show that in the decade between 75 and 84 years of age, cholesterol elevated beyond that in midlife was associated with cognitive decline.  Yet, over the age of 85, higher rates of cholesterol were protective of mental function. Here is a citation to the study. It is not the full study, but an abstract.

More research needs to be done, but if you do not have elevated cholesterol in your family and question whether being on a statin drug is necessary, talk to your doctor.

  • Ask Questions

    Before agreeing to be put on a prescription medication, make sure you understand why the drug is being prescribed and what side effects might be expected. If the medication is for short-term use, make sure to use it only as long as necessary.

  • Review All Your Medications and Supplements

    Consult with an experienced pharmacist or doctor to review all your prescription and non-prescription medications and supplements to determine if they might be causing symptoms.

  • Contact Your Doctor

    Work with your doctor to make sure you withdraw from medications safely.