Polypharmacy perils in Alzheimer’s disease

According to a new US study, conducted at Group Health Research Institute (GHRI), patients with Alzheimer’s disease are regularly being given drugs that can cancel each other out.

The good news is that those patients, who take medications that block the actions of their cholinesterase inhibitors (ChIs), are not more likely to enter a nursing home or have an increased risk of death.

In addition, in cases where anticholinergic drugs (AChs) have been prescribed for urinary spasm, there is an associated reduced risk of death, compared with those who take ChIs alone.

However, the authors of the GHRI study believe these combinations indicate a worrying trend.

“Anticholinergic properties are often found in drugs commonly used to treat gastrointestinal disorders, urinary incontinence, depression, and Parkinson’s disease; and they can have negative effects on cognition and function in the elderly,” explains lead author Dr