Is Your Medicine Cabinet Behind Your Memory Problems?

March 2, 2010 at 1:57 pm Leave a comment

Medicine & Memory Problems:  Image by jana koll on Stock.Xchng As we age. the number of pills and potions we take daily can be overwhelming.  Remembering them is quite a task – which ones do what, when and how much to take, not to mention when we’re supposed to stop (or not stop) taking them.

Making matters worse? Many common medications can negatively affect cognitive function, so that it’s even more difficult to know if they’re being taken correctly.   So if you’re starting to notice cognitive problems in yourself or someone you care about, the medicine cabinet is a good place to start looking for culprits.

Among the drugs known to have occasional memory or cognitive side effects?  Common medications for incontinence, insomnia, blood pressure, diabetes, and stomach problems, can be at fault.   Even some  antibiotics, allergy medications, antidepressants, anti-psychotics and pain medications as well as herbal supplements can contribute to confusion and memory problems.

So what do you do?

You’ll need to start by collecting a list of every medication or supplement you’re taking – be sure to include prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as herbal or vitamin supplements.   It can be useful to mark down why and when you take each pill, as well.

If you’re the one with the memory issues, you’ll want to ask for help from a  family member or friend.   Senior care, social & community services may also be able to help out.

Once you have your list, take it to your primary care physician and your pharmacist.   (A nurse or physicians assistant can also be really helpful ) Tell them you’re concerned about your memory and mental functions, and want to be sure the issues aren’t being caused by the medication, and ask if they could mark any medications that have side effects of confusion or memory-loss – and also any medications that might cause problems in combination.

If any potential problems are spotted, ask your doctor about making possible changes to your medication to eliminate the questionable medications.  Often, a simple switch in products or dosage can identify or resolve the problem.

Important Note:
*Never* stop or change prescription medications without your doctor’s knowledge and approval. Yes, many medications can cause problems with memory – but many of them are also crucial treatments for existing conditions, and stopping them can have dangerous, even life threatening risks.  So please don’t tinker with your medicines on your own.

And of course, not all memory or confusion problems are related to medications.  Brain injury, diseases of the brain like dementia, the normal process of aging, medical issues and many other factors contribute to cognitive declines – but by checking your medications, and talking to your doctor about medication and memory concerns, you’ll eliminate a common and easy to solve contributor to the problem.

Entry filed under: memory. Tags: , , , .

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About This Blog


A healthy mind and brain is key to a healthy, active life. Come along for the ride as we explore the basics of brain health, with topics including:
  • Physical Exercise
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  • Nutrition
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Authored by Tori Deaux
Sponsored by Dakim Brain Fitness

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