Many over-the-counter and prescription drugs can cause memory loss and cognitive impairment. Numerous drugs have been shown to cause mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, a common condition that is often an early sign of Alzheimer's disease. These drugs may create or aggravate Alzheimer's-type symptoms.
Most of the drugs that cause MCI are "anti-cholinergic" -- they inhibit the activity of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. However, only a few of these drugs are officially classified as anti-cholinergic. The only official anti-cholinergic drugs are mostly used for relieving intestinal cramps or bladder irritability, but there are 17 additional types of drugs that may also have anti-cholinergic effects.
According to Dr. Leo Galland, writing in the Huffington Post:
"The list includes commonly used drugs like antihistamines, acid blockers and antidepressants. Unfortunately, many doctors and pharmacists are unaware of the anti-cholinergic properties of these medications."