Study indicates sleep aids may lead to dementia

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)- A new study from the University of Washington School of Pharmacy in Seattle has indicated that some over-the-counter sleep aids may be linked to dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Anticholinergic drugs- including popular non-prescription sleep aids and antihistamines may increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease in elderly people.

Dr. Joseph Ojile, of the Clayton Sleep Clinic and executive board member of the National Sleep Foundation, sat down with the Fox 2 News team to discuss the results of the sleep aid study.

Most over-the-counter sleep aids contain antihistamine products. These aids are designed to be used no more than two or three nights in a row.

The study included just over 3,400 men and women aged 65 and over with no dementia symptoms at the start of the study.

Pharmacy data collected by the researchers helped show the standard daily doses and the cumulative anticholinergic exposure for each participant over the past 10 years. This was updated as participants were followed up for an average of 7 years.

Over the period of the study, 797 participants developed dementia with 637 developing Alzheimer`s disease.

The most commonly used medications were tricyclic antidepressants, first-generation antihistamines, and bladder control medicines.