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Campaign to raise awareness of dementia risk linked to type of drug 

The risk of dementia associated with a group of medicines called anticholinergics will be highlighted by a national campaign being partly led by ARC East Midlands. 

The drugs are commonly given to treat depression, psychosis, bladder disorders, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. 

However, research involving ARC EM researchers funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Primary Care Research (SPCR) has found that if people aged 55 years old and above take these medicines for the equivalent of three years or more, it may increase their risk of developing dementia. 

In response, ARC EM together with the NIHR School for Primary Care Research has developed a digital animation to raise awareness and convey clear messages from the study. 

These messages include: 

  • A summary table of which groups of anticholinergic medicines were found to increase a person’s risk of developing dementia 

  • Recommending that people ask their GP or pharmacist if they can have a medicines review  

  • Contacting the GP or pharmacist if people have any concerns about their medicines

  • A warning to not just stop taking medicines without talking to their doctor first  

The digital animation as well as the key messages will be shared through social media over a six-week period targeting patients, with a follow-up campaign planned for the autumn focused on healthcare professionals. 

This work has been led by ARC EM’s Implementation Hub Team, which is tasked with disseminating the learning gained from studies to wider audiences in a bid to bridge the gap between research and frontline healthcare.  

To access the original research paper, click here

To view the digital animations, click here





Published on: 12 Feb 2021