Wednesday, September 21, 2016
The brown bag test
As part of the workshops I do on memory and aging, we recommend the participants do the brown bag test. We recommend that the participants make an appointment with their pharmacist (or their doctor) to review all of the medications they are taking.
In this review we recommend they take both their non-prescription and prescription drugs with them to the appointment. We recommend that they ask the pharmacist to review how the medications and over the counter drugs interact and what, if any, long term affect they may have on the individuals health.
According to a CBC story the wrong mix of medications causes dementia
Larry Chambers, a scientific adviser with the Alzheimer Society of Canada, says up to 20 per cent of dementias could be due to a bad mix of medications.
"Some of the anticholinergics and antihistamines are very dangerous for cognitive impairment. The other really big one is benzodiazepine that is used for helping people sleep," he says.
It's not just prescription medications that can lead to cognitive issues — over-the-counter ones can too.
"Three really big ones are omega 3 fish oil, Aspirin, and garlic," Chambers says.
"These are known to be contraindicated and cause problems with cognitive functioning and lead to dementia if taken with some heart medications that a physician might prescribe."
In these cases, says Chambers, the dementia can be reversed once the medication is stopped or adjusted.
That's why he encourages seniors and their families to track all prescription and non-prescription drugs and share that information with their doctor and pharmacist.
If you are taking more than one type of prescription, don’t delay take the brown bag test as soon as you can.