Medication fog can mimic or worsen dementia, doctors say

“Unfortunately, it’s not unusual,” said Chen, a geriatrician at the University of California, San Francisco. About 91% of people over 65 take at least one prescription medicine and 41% use five or more — what doctors call polypharmacy.

This report appears in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, from Marilynn Marchione, Chief Medical Writer for the Associated Press:

“Claire Dinneen’s daughters thought that worsening dementia was causing her growing confusion, but her doctor suspected something else.

Dr. Pei Chen asked them to round up medicines in the 89-year-old woman’s home and they returned with a huge haul. There were 28 drugs ordered by various doctors for various ailments, plus over-the-counter medicines. Chen spent a year sorting out which ones were truly needed and trimmed a dozen.

To her daughters’ surprise, Dinneen got better, able to remember more things and to offer advice on what to wear and how to raise their kids. Her symptoms were from ‘medication fog,’ not her dementia getting worse, Chen told one daughter …”

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