A new study from the University of Washington School of Pharmacy found that over-the-counter sleeping drugs could increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday, found that some sleep aids and anti-allergy pills contain "anticholinergic" blocking effects, which, if taken in large doses, can increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's. Anticholinergic drugs block acetylcholine, a chemical transmitter in the nervous system that Alzheimer's patients often lack.
The researchers suggested that doctors prescribe lower doses and fewer anticholinergic drugs for older patients, though more research is needed to understand sleep aids' potential risks.
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.