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Medicines with anticholinergic properties increase mortality rate due to stroke

Medicines with anticholinergic properties increase mortality rate due to stroke

Medicines with anticholinergic properties increase mortality rate due to stroke

April 5th, 2018 | ASAH Team

Common prescription medicines for the treatment of allergies, Parkinson’s disease and angina can increase the chances of dying from a stroke. Several studies suggest that prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs like painkillers, antianxiety drugs and beta-blockers raise the risk of stroke. The easy accessibility of these medications from chemists has further compounded the problem.

The risk of stroke increases with age, but it also prominent across all age and population. The large-scale prevalence of stroke has a considerable effect on the global morbidity and mortality. In the United States, stroke is the fifth leading cause for death in the U.S., responsible for one out of every 20 deaths. Moreover, over 795,000 American have a stroke on an annual basis, killing approx. 140,000.

Although many of these medicines play an important role in treating various diseases, they have their own side effects. While medicines like codeine (for treating pain), Imodium (for treating diarrhea), and atenolol (for treating angina) have comparatively less side effects, some antihistamines like Piriton used as a hay fever treatment option inflict more severe consequences. These medicines affect the body’s cholinergic system, regulating the heart and blocking acetylcholine (neurotransmitter) in the central and peripheral nervous system, increasing the risk of a stroke. These drugs already cause memory loss, confusion, blurred vision, etc.

Way common prescribed medicines causes stroke

In order to determine the long-term risks of the medicines with anticholinergic properties, a study was conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Aberdeen on around 25,639 participants selected from 1993 to 1997. These participants, including both men and women aged between 39 and 79 years, were followed until Mar. 2016. It was found that individuals using such medications stand around 86 percent increased risk of dying from a stroke and approximately 59 percent chance of suffering from a stroke. These findings will help doctors to avoid the prescription of medicines that can lower the number of strokes.

As per the viewpoint of Dr. David Gamble, lead researcher of the study, these outcomes will lower the number of strokes as both patients and medical practitioners will be extremely careful about these medications. These anticholinergic drugs diminish the protective effects, making a person more vulnerable to stroke. Compared to the beta-blockers like codeine, Imodium and atenolol, the side effects of painkiller pethidine are stronger.

These medicines can make the heart beat faster or erratically, leading to clotting of the blood, increasing the risk of a stroke once it reaches the brain. According to Prof. Phyo Myint, senior author of the study, this is the first-of-its-kind research to identify a new risk factor, which would have a significant influence on the global problem of stroke.

Striking a balance between risk and benefit

To address the problem of prescribed drugs, there is an urgent need to recognize its negative consequences on health and mortality. There is a requirement to strike a perfect balance between providing treatment for a disorder, and minimizing other risks and adverse effects. Therefore, one should carefully use medicines with anticholinergic effects. As there have been a fewer studies to study the relationship between medications with anticholinergic effect and stroke in a general population, the need of the hour is to find more evidences related to their repercussions.

Many prescription drugs like antianxiety and painkillers lead to addiction and overdosing. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction and looking for a state-of-the-art substance abuse rehab in Arizona, contact the Arizona Substance Abuse Helpline for assistance. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-857-5777 or chat online with our experts to know about the best substance abuse treatment centers in Arizona.

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