Common prescription drugs used to treat allergies, heart disease and Parkinson’s can increase chances of dying from a stroke. According to a study conducted by scientists from the University of Aberdeen, people using drugs with anticholinergic properties are about 60 percent more vulnerable to stroke.
The study team examined the risk of stroke in 22,000 individuals who were prescribed medications with anticholinergic properties. The participants included men and women in the age group of 39 to 79 years, who had previously participated in the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC)-Norfolk prospective population-based study, which dealt with the link between diet, lifestyle factors and cancer.
In the EPIC-Norfolk study, 25,639 individuals were selected from general practice age-sex registers to complete a baseline health examination from 1993 to 1997. After a long gap, the same participants underwent a follow-up in March 2016 to study the long-term risks of the medication. The findings published recently in the International Journal of Epidemiology suggested that those taking medicines with a high level of anticholinergic side effects faced a 59 percent increased risk of having a stroke and an 86 percent higher chance of succumbing to the medical condition.
Medications, such as painkiller codeine, anti-depressant Valium, Imodium used for diarrhea, and hay fever remedy Piriton, are known to affect the body’s cholinergic system, which regulates the heart. These anticholinergic agents are substances that block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the central and the peripheral nervous system, increasing the risk of a stroke. These drugs have already earned the ill-repute of causing memory loss, blurred vision, confusion, and now, according to the latest study, may also cause blood clots, ending in a stroke.
Lead author of the study Dr. David Gamble said: “Medicines with anticholinergic effects have been shown to affect inflammation, which is important in the period immediately after a stroke, produce rapid and irregular heart rhythms and interfere with the body’s ability to regulate heart rate and blood pressure, which has been shown to be protective in stroke. It is possible that diminishing these protective effects with anticholinergic drugs can make people more vulnerable to stroke.”
It is a fact that illicit drugs can be life threatening and often lead to fatal consequences. But Americans are abusing over-the-counter/prescription medications more than illegal street drugs. Opioid addiction and overdose are driving this epidemic. Clearly in the U.S., succumbing to overdoses involving prescription drugs is a widespread crisis of the 21st-century, and the nation’s “war against drugs” is probably targeting the wrong enemy.
Combating addiction to depressants
Depressants are a class of prescription drugs, which suppress the central nervous system (CNS) to produce a calming effect in patients struggling with sleep disorders and mental health problems. However, their addictive nature can get users hooked on them. Along with depressants, opioids and stimulants form the most widely abused prescription drugs nationwide. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), an estimated 48 million people have abused prescription drugs, representing around 20 percent of the American population.
Non-medical use of depressants or any other prescription drug can lead to full-scale addiction. Overdosing on depressants can cause drug-induced delirium, disorientation, lowered blood pressure, excess daytime sedation, reduced pulse rate and breathing, and cognitive and psychomotor impairments.
If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction to depressants or any other prescription sedatives, contact Sovereign Health of San Clemente. Specialists at our world-class depressant addiction treatment centers in California are trained to identify the underlying causes and prescribe customized treatments for depressant addiction as well as group psychotherapy based on a patient’s requirements. You may call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our representatives for details.