Over the Counter Medications and Dementia




Doctor Andy’s Wellness Corner
By: Andy Marrone, D.C.
Clinic Director,
Redmond Ridge Nutrition & Chiropractic

Over the Counter (OTC) Medications and Dementia

According to The Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia affect over 5 billion of America’s elderly. What’s more shocking as that number is expected to increase over 30% by 2025 to over 6.7 billion Americans. Why is dementia on the rise, and how can we reduce the risks of acquiring it?
My purpose in writing this article is not to blame these OTC medications for causing dementia. But rather to educate to you how digestion works and it’s role in mental health. Your digestive tract is activated by the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the following improving digestive functions: stomach acid production (which activates enzymes), improving the flow of bile (which contains enzymes), and improving pancreatic enzyme secretions. It also improves peristalsis (movement of food along the digestive tract) and bowel elimination.
How many people are using OTC medications that block these and other functions?
A new study finds that many OTC sleeping pills and allergy pills like Benadryl and Nytol have been associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (JAMA InternMed. Published online January 26, 2015)
The study looked at several drugs, which block acetylcholine (see below). Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter. When it is blocked the result is drowsiness and other side effects. The study found that people who took certain medications for more than three years were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
It is an established fact that people with Alzheimer’s have a shortage of acetylcholine; the transmitter these drugs block. The researchers also noted that in animals, anticholinergic effects are known to increase beta-amyloid protein levels, another characteristic of Alzheimer’s.

Acetylcholene blocking drugs researched in the Study:
• 10mg per day of doxepin (a tricyclic antidepressant)
• 5mg per day of oxybutynin (like bladder control treatment Ditropan)
• 4mg per day of diphenhydramine (Nytol and Benadryl)

If you have any questions regarding this research, please refer to your M.D. or Pharmacist.

If you would like help restoring your health safely, effectively and naturally without drugs or surgery, contact us to set up a consult.


After many years of clinical practice, Dr. Marrone has forged a remarkable career as a practitioner, educator and lecturer. His extensive knowledge of functional enzyme nutrition has made him a much sought after practitioner. If you are suffering from health problems that nobody seems to have the answer to, or are sick and tired of the revolving door approach of modern medicine, give Dr. Marrone a call to set up a consultation.