I recently had an article printed in the Alzheimer’s Reading Room (great source for information at www.alzheimersreadingroom.com) where I discuss how many commonly used medications will interact with and work against the anti-dementia meds in the cholinesterase inhibitor class (Aricept, Exelon, and Razadyne). There is a classification of drugs called “anticholinergics” that will essentially cancel out the intended therapeutic effects of both drugs when given together. These anticholinergics are found in many types of medications. Here are a few:
* Antispasmodics, such as Levsin, Donnatal, Bentyl
* Bronchodilators such as Atrovent and Spiriva
* Antiemetics such as Dramamine, Bonine and Antivert
* Antiparkinson drugs such as Kemadrin, Artane, Cogentin
* Sleep aides such as Sominex, Nytol, Unisom
* Cough and cold preparations that contain diphendydramine
* Atropine which is found in some heart medications and eye drops
* Urinary incontinence meds such as Ditropan, Toviaz, Vesicare and Detrol
I have only listed a few of the brand medications from each category, and there are many, many more. If your loved one is taking a drug that might be in a category, be sure to ask the physician, or the pharmacist about this interaction with their anti-dementia med. With the thousands and thousands of medications out there to choose from, your loved one’s healthcare provider may forget about this interaction that will render both drugs useless, so please be sure to check on this when any new medication is introduced even if it’s for a simple cough, or a sleep problem.
The other drug classification used for dementia is the NMDA receptor antagonist and that is Namenda. It works in a totally different way than the cholinesterase inhibitors, so it is not affected by these other drugs.