Bladder incontinence drug linked to dementia??

Anyone here taking Oxybutynin for bladder issues? If so, have you had a conversation with your doctor about the links between drugs like this and dementia?? I've now read in multiple places that drugs in the category of anticholinergics taken long term, particularly by people over 60, have a link to dementia. Here is one article:

I'm not over 60 but edging up there so this horrifies me. Especially since I also take another anticholinergic for my heart rate. I tried to talk to my neuro about it since he prescribed the Oxybutynin. I don't know if I caught him on a bad day but he abruptly told me to just stop taking it if I don't want to be on it. He is not normally like this so I don't know what to think.

I'm planning on talking to my primary care about this when I have my checkup there later this month. Just wondering if anyone else has looked into this or had a conversation with their doctor about it.

10 Replies

  • Raingrrl I've been reading about the link between anticholinergics and dementia for the last 2 years. I'm on 3 different meds that fall into this category. I try to take as minimal a dose as possible. Not sure what else we can do. Here is an exhaustive list that categorizes them by how bad they are.

  • Thanks for the list @Iona60! I don't know what else we can do either. Its annoying.

  • thanks for the list

  • redman44 Has a good motto, "I'm going to take my meds and live." Wish we had more choices.

  • Raingrrl

    This really isn't new news in the medical field. Most meds for OAB overactive bladder are anticholinergic and can affect cognition. Newer drugs,like Sanctura (and others) are more selective antimuscarinics (m3s) affecting mostly bladder receptors and have less general anticholinergic effects. Myrbetriq is a bladder med that doesn't have anticholinergic effects.

    But all meds have potential side effects.

    More common Alzheimer's (Aricept) meds are cholinesterase inhibitors. So makes perfect sense an anticholinergic like ditropan. (Or other non bladder anticholinergic meds would affect cognition. Good list of these meds on the Beers list of drugs that should be avoided in elderly

  • Thanks erash for the info and the names of alternates! It just seems that my neuro isn't up-to-date on these meds so hopefully my PCP is. The side affects I feel from oxybutynin are annoying as it is so knowing that it can affect cognition makes me unsure it's worth it. It is helping but at what cost?

  • I'm on oxybutynin also Raingrrl and this is the 1st l have heard of it. I would be interested to know what you find out.☺

    J 🌠

  • I was on oxybutynin for years, Raingrrl (myerbetriq too) and like others here, never heard of the cognitive connection. Interesting. I definitely have cog issues. I rank that as my biggest disability. Neuropsychology testing showed my deficits due to MS (plaque locations) rather than age, etc. Hmm... I will have to check more into that. Thanks! 💕

  • Raingrrl, it's Fancy1959. Take a deep breath and realize that no one thing is a determination of dementia. More often than not dementia is caused by hereditary factors, injury, or illness. I to take bladder control medicine in that family of drugs. I realize that if I start worrying about all the maybes associated with my MS and the drugs I take to control its various issues I would have a hard time living with this monster. Talking to your primary care physician is a good idea and will hopefully help you find ways to cope with the issues and check out any other options you might have to put your mind at ease.🙂

  • Thanks Fancy1959! I'm a worrier by nature and I'm frustrated with the changes in my cognitive abilities caused by MS over the years. So...I freaked out a bit when I discovered that this medication could make my thinking even worse.

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