Prescription drugs cause over 100,000 deaths every year and cause another 1.5 million people to experience side effects so severe that they must be hospitalized.
Adverse drug reactions are now the fourth leading cause of death in the US. Every medication carries some risks, and memory loss is a very common side effect.
Studies show that pharmaceutical drugs can deplete your body of critical nutrients through multiple mechanisms, including increased excretion of nutrients, and impaired digestion, absorption and storage of nutrients.
Over time, nutritional deficiencies can develop. And these deficiencies can cause additional symptoms and increase side effects. In fact, many drug “side effects” are simply nutritional deficiencies.
This is clearly a problem because nutrient deficiencies can be one of the main causes of mental illness. Being prescribed medication that further deplete nutrients from your body will make you worse. It’s an epidemic that seems to be ignored by the conventional medical system.
3 Key Nutrients That Can Be Depleted From Using These Drugs
Your doctor who prescribed you these medications is very likely not aware of the consequences of using these drugs. So, it does you well to understand how these nutrients can be depleted and the brain issues it can cause.
1. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Coenzyme Q10 is a molecule found in every cell of your body and plays a key role in the production of energy. It is also an antioxidant and protects your body and brain from free radical damage.
Studies show that a number of psychiatric medications can deplete CoQ10. Low levels of CoQ10 leads to brain fog, mental fatigue, difficulty concentrating, memory lapses, depression and irritability. Other deficiency symptoms include increased blood pressure, muscle cramps, high blood sugar and shortness of breath.
Magnesium is an important mineral that is required for over 300 biochemical reactions and functions in your body. This includes neurotransmitter (neurons in your brain for transmitting messages), enzymes and hormonal activities, all of which can have a huge impact on your mood and brain function.
Magnesium is essential for maintaining calm. A deficiency can cause anxiety, depression and irritability. Yet, many people are deficient in this mineral due to poor lifestyle and dietary choices. Other symptoms of a magnesium deficiency:
- Increased blood pressure
- Muscle weakness, cramps, tremors, twitching and spasms
- Headaches and migraines
- Suicidal thoughts
- Heart arrhythmias
- And many more!
Interestingly, these symptoms are very similar to the list of side effects of psychiatric conditions!
Inadequate magnesium levels can contribute and worsen any neuropsychiatric problems. This includes depression, anxiety, insomnia, seizures, ADHD, pain, schizophrenia, irritability, premenstrual syndrome, drug abuse and short-term memory and IQ loss.
So if you or a loved one are taking any medication to deal with a mental health condition, consider supplementing with magnesium instead. Eat plenty of magnesium-rich foods that will help tremendously.
3. B Vitamins
These drugs have been found to lower a number of B Vitamins, including B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folate) and B12 (cobalamins).
B2: Riboflavin plays a key role in energy metabolism throughout your entire body. A deficiency can lead to low energy, weight gain and thyroid problems.
B6: Pyridoxine is a key nutrient that boosts mood, deepens sleep and supports your nervous system. A deficiency of this vitamin include weakness, mental confusion, depression, insomnia and severe PMS symptoms.
B9: Folate is a precursor needed to make, repair and methylate DNA, especially important in aiding rapid cell division and growth, such as in infancy and pregnancy. A deficiency in pregnant women can lead to birth defects.
B12: Cobalamin is a coenzyme that is essential in the metabolism of every cell in the human body. A deficiency can lead to anemia, elevated homocysteine, peripheral neuropathy, memory loss and other cognitive problems.
Top Prescription Drugs That Can Cause Memory Loss And Brain Issues
If you are taking any prescription medication, the odds are that it falls into one of these three categories of drugs known to cause memory loss and other cognitive problems:
The “Anti” Drugs
If you take any drug that starts with “anti” such as antihistamines, antidepressants, antipsychotics, antibiotics, antispasmodics, or antihypertensives, it’s likely that it will affect your acetylcholine levels.
Acetylcholine is the primary neurotransmitter involved with memory and learning. Low acetycholine can lead to symptoms that resemble dementia including mental confusion, delirium, blurred vision, memory loss, and hallucinations.
Prescription sleeping pills are notorious for causing memory loss. The popular drug Ambien has been coined by some as “the amnesia drug”. Some users experience night terrors, sleep walking, sleep driving, and hallucinations.
Prescription sleeping pills have been found to put you in a state similar to being passed out, drunk or in a coma while bypassing the restorative sleep your brain needs. There are many better ways to get to sleep.
These cholesterol-lowering medications might just be the single worst group of drugs for your brain. Memory loss is now required to be listed as a side effect on the label.
One quarter of your brain is made up of cholesterol. Cholesterol is necessary for memory, learning, and fast thinking. So it is not a total surprise that cholesterol-lowering drugs negatively affect the brain.
More Medications Known To Cause Memory Loss
Richard C. Mohs, Ph.D., former vice chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine is compiled this list. As an author and co-author of more than 300 scientific papers, Dr Mohs has conducted numerous studies on aging, Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive function.
Anticholinergic Drugs (scopolamine, atropine, glycopyrrolate)
These drugs block acetylcholine and are used to treat movement disorders (such as Parkinson’s disease), irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, certain types of urinary incontinence, and other problems. Scopolamine in particular is a strong memory blocker.
Anti-Epilepsy Drugs (phenytoin/Dilantin)
Drugs that are used to treat brain problems such as epilepsy are considered to be harmful to memory, as are derivatives of atropine, which typically induce amnesia. In particular, large doses of Dilantin can interfere with memory, reaction time, and thinking.
Opiates (heroin, morphine, codeine)
Natural opiates come from the opium poppy Papaver somniferum. Narcotics are made from opium and are used legally as prescription painkillers. Many of the opiates are quite capable of interfering with both short and long-term memory and learning. Experts think these drugs interfere with memory by affecting brain chemicals including acetylcholine and norepinephrine.
While many psychoactive medications interfere with memory, different drug classes within this broad category may cause different types of memory problem. In fact, the type and extent of memory loss may vary even among the drugs within the same class.
For example, one type of antidepressant that interferes with certain brain chemicals may improve memory, compared to another group of antidepressants (such as the tricyclics) that interferes with memory. Some of the psychoactive drugs that cause memory problems include:
- benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax, Ativan, Dalmane, many others)
- neuroleptics (also known as antipsychotics: Haldol, Mellaril, etc.)
- tricyclic antidepressants
- barbiturates (Amytal, Nembutal, Seconal, phenobarbital)
Mild memory loss may be a potential side effect of chemotherapy. How significant a problem it is, which drugs cause it, how long it lasts, and what you can do to combat it are questions scientists are trying to answer.
One Canadian study found that half of all women taking or finished with chemotherapy showed mild problems with cognition and memory. The women taking chemotherapy during the study had more significant memory problems than those who had already finished chemotherapy.
Other Chemicals and Drugs
Many other drugs can cause memory problems, including:
- antibiotics (quinolones)
- high blood pressure drugs
- beta blockers (especially those used for glaucoma)
- seasickness patches
- carbon monoxide
- carbon disulfide
- excessive amounts of manganese
What To Do If You’re On Any Of These Medications
If you’re taking any of these medications mentioned above, we recommend that you talk to your doctor if you believe it’s affecting your memory.
Get your doctor to work with you to find better options—different prescriptions and/or making healthy lifestyle choices instead.
Even if you have to stay on your medication, you can lessen the load on your brain by taking proactive steps such as eating a brain-healthy diet, getting the physical exercise your brain needs, and taking the right brain supplements.
Give your brain the healthiest possible environment to stay mentally sharp in spite of your medications.