What medications make dementia worse?

Dementia is a progressive condition that has no known cure. While there are several treatments to slow down its progression and manage symptoms, some medications can cause or worsen dementia symptoms. These drugs interfere with brain function and affect cognition, memory, and behavior.

In this article, we will explore the various medications that could potentially exacerbate dementia symptoms. We’ll also offer possible alternatives to these drugs.

Medications That Make Dementia Worse

The following list of medications may negatively impact individuals with dementia:

1. Antipsychotics

Antipsychotic drugs are commonly prescribed for individuals with severe agitation or aggression associated with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. However, these drugs increase the risk of stroke in older adults living with dementia.

Alternatives: Consider behavioral interventions such as social engagement activities, music therapy or a calming environment instead of antipsychotic treatment.

2. Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines like Valium®, Xanax®, Ativan® are often used to treat anxiety but can worsen cognitive impairment in people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease by limiting neurotransmitter release which reduces activity between nerve cells in the brain.

Alternatives: Behavioral strategies for managing anxiety (exercise relaxation techniques)or alternative medication options (like Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors-SSRIs).


Anticholinergic agents are found not only present in prescription medicines such as certain painkillers/tricyclic antidepressants but also non-prescription products like cold medicine containing diphenhydramine which serve as allergy remedies.Such anticholinergic properties limit communication within your central nervous system causing problems recalling memories,cognitive issues among others.. It puts you at higher risk if taking further cholinesterase inhibitors during Alzheimer’s disorder treatments.

Alternatives: Discuss alternative over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs with your health care provider if similar symptoms are present. They can be involved to provide relief which acts on other mechanisms by avoiding or limit exposure such anticholinergic properties.

4. Steroids

Long-term use of corticosteroids increases the risk of developing dementia, primarily in older adults since it affects their cognitive functions due to its potent anti-inflammatory effect.The high glucose levels produced weaken our immune system making us susceptible to infections also leads to depression-like symptoms within elderly patients with Alzheimer’s disease among others.

Alternatives: Non-steroid based alternatives like pain relievers can be preferred when possible, especially for those at a greater risk of developing cognitive problems or who have used steroids for long periods. If oral medication is necessary, then consult your doctor because they can rise slow & low doses while following side-effects that affect cognitive function/long term impact on memory retention.

5. Narcotics

Narcotics extensively regulate certain bodily mechanisms particularly pain reception regulatory hormones .Overprescribing opioids like hydrocodone oxycodone fentanyl among others associated with risky behavior changes.. Narcotic-induced delirium includes hallucinations,the ability to determine orientation and confusion as resulting effects during onset.This effect intensifies regarding individuals suffering from dementia whose neural pathways are impacted thus leading ways in more extreme behavioural changes/agitation compared prone case without treatment;

Alternatives include hemp lotions/plasters/cbd drops etc., recently legalized remedies proven effective against some kinds of mild-moderate muscle/joint torment than conventional medication.Regarding chronic issues,discuss duration/dose management strategies/tapering protocols that ensure efficient compliance if opioid-based medications prescribed required dosage regimen prescribed.


In conclusion,there are multiple medicines available commonly administered for diverse ailments across the population like dementia-specific treatments/inoperable-trauma related conditions but may prove unsuitable for people with dementia as they can aggravate/ cause the development of new symptoms such as confusion, agitation and cognitive decline.We suggest establishing proper therapeutic goals with your health care provider so that you receive specific symptom management guidelines set to better match underlying conditions which prevent possible complications from a particular drug regime.. For patients who presently administer drugs or recently prescribed medication under supplemental regimen these are vital details doctors may not include during general counseling sessions about side effects associated unless asked specifically Read online resources,talk to others suffering similar complaints within support groups and then take necessary steps towards an informed decision.

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