Common over-the-counter drugs can hurt your brain

Science has linked anticholinergic drugs with cognitive impairment and an increased risk of dementia.

Story highlights

  • Anticholinergic drugs have been linked to cognitive impairment and increased risk of dementia
  • A new study finds lower metabolism and reduced brain sizes in participants taking these drugs

(CNN)From allergies to insomnia, there's a pill for just about every problem. The problem is, those pills often come with a lengthy list of potential side effects.

And in the quest to cure what ails us as quickly as possible, those warnings are too often overlooked.
A new study, published Monday, offers the most definite proof yet of what scientists have known for at least a decade: that anticholinergic drugs (PDF) are linked with cognitive impairment and an increased risk of dementia.