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Forgetting things could be the drugs you are taking

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ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI)- Is memory loss interfering with your daily life? Most people are familiar with some of the things that can impair memory, including alcohol and drug abuse, head injuries, stroke, sleep deprivation, severe stress, aging or a symptom of conditions like Alzheimer`s disease. What many do not know is that episodes of forgetfulness can also be side effects of prescription drugs.

Dr. Matt Pitlick, an associate professor of pharmacy pract at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, sat down with Pertz this morning to discuss the risks some prescriptions may carry.

Many drugs are recommended for short-term use due to possible abuse and addiction and while others are needed to control chronic conditions. However, effective non-drug therapies may be a healthier choice and in many cases can be tried before medications.

Other suspect medications include sleeping aids, anti-seizure drugs, incontinence drugs and antihistamines. If you are experiencing memory loss, one of these commonly prescribed drugs may be the culprit. Consult your doctor.

Common prescription drugs that may induce forgetfulness in some patients:

  • Anti-anxiety drugs (Benzodiazepines) dampen activity in key parts of the brain, including those involved in the transfer of events from short-term to long-term memory. Examples: alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), flurazepam (Dalmane), and lorazepam (Ativan).
  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs (Statins) may impair memory and other mental processes by depleting brain levels of cholesterol. In the brain, these lipids are vital to the formation of connections between nerve cells, the links underlying memory and learning. Examples: atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor) and simvastatin (Zocor).
  • Antidepressant drugs (Tricyclic antidepressants) may cause memory problems by blocking the action of serotonin and norepinephrine, two of the brain's key chemical messengers. Some degree of memory impairment and difficulty concentrating is common. Examples: amitriptyline (Elavil), clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin (Sinequan), imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline (Pamelor), protriptyline (Vivactil) and trimipramine (Surmontil).
  • Narcotic painkillers (opioid analgesics) involve many aspects of cognition and can interfere with long- and short-term memory, especially when used for an extended time. Examples: fentanyl (Duragesic), hydrocodone (Norco, Vicodin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo), morphine (Astramorph, Avinza) and oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet).
  • Hypertension drugs (Beta-blockers) may cause memory problems by interfering with "blocking" the action of key chemical messengers in the brain, including norepinephrine and epinephrine. Examples: atenolol (Tenormin), carvedilol (Coreg), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol), propranolol (Inderal), sotalol (Betapace), timolol (Timoptic) and some other drugs whose chemical names end with "-olol.'