What Are Over-The-Counter Drugs Doing To Your Brain?

brain on drugsCatherine J. Frompovich, Guest
Waking Times

Are you an OTC drug junkie? Frankly, most folks today are because they are dealing with some sort of ailment or even a chronic condition. Do you think because you can purchase OTC drugs in pharmacies that they don’t cause harm to your body? Well, maybe trusting healthcare consumers need to think twice before picking up another OTC pharmaceutical.

There’s a classification of drugs called anticholinergics, which included numerous OTC products such as antihistamines, antidepressants, and even bladder control drugs. Anticholinergics include bronchodilators. They also affect senior citizens, which may not be a well-known side effect: “In fact, even small increases in so-called anticholinergic burden or load increase the risk of morbidity and mortality in older individuals.” [1]

Anticholinergics use needs to be taken seriously—not just popped into the mouth without realizing negative health consequences—as they block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine action in the brain [2]! They are used often by patients with asthma, gastrointestinal cramps, incontinence, muscular spasms, depression and sleep disorders.


  • The questions consumers need to be asking themselves are, “Why am I depending upon something that is interfering with my brain?” “Can those OTC drugs be contributing to my memory problems—even dementia?” “Are there other remedies that will provide relief but not interfere with my brain’s neurotransmitters?”

    Why should consumers reconsider OTC drugs; aren’t they safe? Even though they are approved for OTC sale, here are some of the potential side effects from anticholinergic drugs:

    Potential Adverse Consequences of Medications with Anticholinergic Properties [3]

    • Blood pressure, increased
    • Breathing difficulty, changes
    • Clumsiness or unsteadiness
    • Convulsions
    • Digestive system changes, e.g., Bloating; Bowel motility, decreased; Constipation; Ileus, paralytic/adynamic; Nausea or vomiting; Swallowing difficulty with dry mouth
    • Mental status/behavior changes, e.g., Distress, excitement, nervousness; Attention, impaired; Cognitive decline; Confusion/disorientation; Hallucinations; Memory loss; Restlessness or irritability;
    • Delirium
    • Dizziness
    • Drowsiness
    • Fever
    • Headache
    • Heart rate, increased
    • Lethargy, fatigue
    • Mucous membrane dryness: mouth, nose
    • Muscle weakness, severe
    • Speech, slurring
    • Skin, changes: Dryness; Sweating, decreased; Flushing; Warmth, excessive
    • Vision impairment, changes in acuity: Blurring; Glaucoma, worsening; Eye pain; Light sensitivity
    • Urinary retention or difficulty

    Coincidentally and unknowingly, consumers may be taking an OTC drug that automatically is raising their blood pressure, all while your MD keeps adding more prescription drugs to lower it! Ever think of that?

    That would be something to bring to your MD’s attention or even make a special appointment to discuss: the fact that you are taking OTC drugs that could be impacting an Rx drug you are taking and really may not need.

    There are non-pharmaceutical or natural remedies that deal with most physiological health issues that one would take anticholinergics OTC drugs for. Here’s a list of some.

    According to a paper published in Urology [4] Herbal treatments are an increasingly popular alternative for treating OAB [Overactive bladder]. A 2002 survey of US adults aged ≥ 18 years conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that 74.6% of those with OAB had used some form of complementary and alternative medicine. The World Health Organization estimates that 80% of the world’s population presently uses herbal medicine for some aspect of primary health care.

    Probably that’s why Big Pharma is getting into vaccines so heavily, i.e., to mandate consumers in Western World countries take their pharmaceuticals by laws enforcing vaccines, since much of the world wants to stay with complementary, alternative or even shamanic healthcare. I wonder why!

    References:

    [1] http://prescribersletter.therapeuticresearch.com/pl/ArticleDD.aspx?nidchk=1&cs=&s=PRL&pt=2&segment=3860&dd=271223&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1
    [2] http://memory.ucsf.edu/ftd/medical/treatment/avoid/multiple
    [3] http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/fpc/cww/D02_Transmittal22ExcerptTableII.pdf
    [4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3821987/Resources:

    Does anticholinergics drug burden relate to global neuro-disability outcome measures and length of hospital stays?
    http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/02699052.2015.1060358

    Aging Brain Care
    http://www.agingbraincare.org/uploads/products/ACB_scale_-_legal_size.pdf

    Are your tablets destroying your brain? What to do about anticholinergics [an MS RN’s blog]
    http://mirandasmsblog.com/2015/02/02/alternatives-to-anticholinergic-drugs-that-cause-cognitive-problemsdementia/

    Where Can I Find a List of Anticholinergic Drugs?
    http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2015/02/01/where-can-i-find-a-list-of-anticholinergic-drugs/

    Image Credit

    About the Author

    Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.

    Catherine’s latest book, published October 4, 2013, is Vaccination Voodoo, What YOU Don’t Know About Vaccines, available on Amazon.com.

    Her 2012 book A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments, is available on Amazon.com and as a Kindle eBook.

    Two of Catherine’s more recent books on Amazon.com are Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick (2009) and Lord, How Can I Make It Through Grieving My Loss, An Inspirational Guide Through the Grieving Process (2008)

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