How Antihistamines Can Make You Lose Your Memory

Are you one of those people who dreads spring?

Do you run and hide when the flowers start blooming?

Does the sight of clear, blue skies after a long winter make you both happy and miserable?

If that’s you, you’re probably one of the millions who suffer from allergic rhinitis – also known as hayfever.

You’ve probably grown used to reaching for an inhaler or antihistamine medication every time spring rolls around, or even just when the wind is blowing a little more strongly.

Otherwise, you’ll end up a puffy, teary mess, right?

Blocked, itchy nose, watery eyes, sore throat and sneeze after sneeze after sneeze!

And hayfever doesn’t just happen in spring. There are two forms: seasonal and perennial.

While seasonal is usually caused by sensitivity to airborne mold spores or to pollens from grass, trees, and weeds, perennial allergic rhinitis can have you reaching for your medication year-round.

It’s caused by dust mites, pet hair or dander, cockroaches or mold.

What does this have to do with your memory?

A lot.

And it’s not good.

Recent research has uncovered a very disturbing effect of using antihistamines.

In a study conducted by the University of Washington’s School of Pharmacy, researchers discovered a significant link between long-term use of anticholinergic medications (such as nasal sprays and Benadryl) and dementia.

Anticholinergic drugs include some antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants, medications to control overactive bladder, and drugs to relieve the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

That’s right: the antihistamines you’re using to calm your raging hay fever symptoms could be increasing your risk of cognitive decline later in life.

How can this be?

Well, anticholinergic drugs block the action of acetylcholine.

This is the substance that works to send messages around the nervous system.

In the brain, acetylcholine has an even more important job: it’s involved in learning and memory.

And in the rest of the body, it helps to stimulate the muscle contractions required for day-to-day functioning.

The long-term study involved nearly 3,500 men and women ages 65 and older.

Researchers tracked all the drugs (prescription and nonprescription) that participants had taken in the 10 years before the study.

The health of each participant was then tracked for an average of seven years.

During that time, 800 of the volunteers developed dementia.

When the researchers investigated the use of anticholinergic drugs, they found that people who used these drugs were more likely to have developed dementia as those who didn’t use them.

What’s worse is that the risk of developing dementia increased the longer the participants took it.

Taking an anticholinergic for the equivalent of three years or more, for example, was associated with a 54% higher dementia risk than taking the same dose for three months or less.

Diphenhydramine (DPH) is a sedating antihistamine that is found in almost all over-the-counter “PM” pain relievers.

It also is found in some OTC sleeping pills and in allergy drugs like Benadryl.

A recent review of sleep medicines for older adults concluded that medicines containing diphenhydramine should be avoided.

Researches state that grogginess, drowsiness, confusion, and memory loss are common side-effects when using diphenhydramine.

If this medication is continued, these symptoms can progress into reduced alertness, diminished memory task performance, and impaired episodic memory.

Bottom line?

If you want to keep your memory in shape – and who doesn’t? – anticholinergics aren’t drugs you should take long-term.

As you get older, your body’s production of acetylcholine diminishes.

Blocking its effects is like a double-whammy to your memory function.

So, how can you deal with the misery of hayfever and allergies WITHOUT using mind-destroying anticholinergics?

Well, Mother Nature has the answer!

Here’s a whole bunch of proven natural that will help to treat your allergy symptoms while keeping your memory in good shape.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.