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Too Many Older Americans Taking Drug Linked to Dementia
A drug used frequently to treat overactive bladder is linked to problems with cognition and an increased risk of dementia. Despite this, the drug, oxybutynin, is being prescribed to millions of older people in the United States, according to a study released at the European Association of Urology conference in London.
Researchers led by Daniel Pucheril, MD, examined six years of statistics from the U.S. National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and focused on about 2,600 patients aged 65 and over who were given prescriptions for an overactive bladder; 27% of those prescriptions were for oxybutynin. Only 9% of patients taking oxybutynin had a neurological exam, even though the FDA recommends monitoring for signs of cerebral problems, the researchers pointed out. Some of this overuse may be because most Medicare Part D plans require that patients try and fail with oxybutynin before they are eligible for the newer generation antimuscarinic medications.