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Your insomnia medication may be damaging your brain

Some rather startling research has just been released concerning the use of anticholinergics - drugs that are frequently purchased over-the-counter as insomnia remedies.

Anticholinergics are widely used and are sold under the brand names Benadryl, Dramamine, Exedrin PM, Nytrol, Sominex and Tylenol PM.

As reported in the Chicago Tribune, a study conducted by Indiana University School of Medicine, the Regenstrief Institute and Wishard Health Services found that regularly taking one anticholinergic significantly increased the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment. Taking two of the drugs doubled the risk.

It's worth mentioning that the study looked at the effects of anticholinergics amongst African-Americans over the age of 70 - although the researchers state that the results can be generalized to other races. On a slightly more positive note, although these drugs were linked with mild cognitive impairment, there was no link with Alzheimer's disease.

This is a good reminder that ALL medication comes with risks and side-effects - regardless of whether they're marketed as 'natural' or sold over the counter.

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Last updated: July 30, 2010

This Article Was Written By

Martin Reed

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