The People's Perspective on Medicine

Bladder Drug Leads to Mental Confusion

Several months ago we read a review in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging (May, 2009). The researchers reviewed 27 studies and found that some commonly prescribed medications can sometimes trigger cognitive problems, especially in older people.
The authors reported that the anticholinergic effects of a wide range of medicines were particularly problematical. Such drugs affect a neurochemical called acetylcholine that is critical for brain function.
Some medications with anticholinergic activity include certain antidepressants, such as amitriptyline or paroxetine, and drugs for urinary incontinence, such as Ditropan or Detrol. Even the over-the-counter antihistamine diphenhydramine (Benadryl) may contribute to confusion. This ingredient is found in many popular nighttime pain relievers, such as Advil PM, Alka-Seltzer PM or Tylenol PM.
Just telling you this is not very compelling. That’s why we sometimes share powerful stories from visitors to our Web site. We received this comment from Ruthann on January 14, 2010. We welcome your comments and/or votes:
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I am a 49 year old female who has been on Ditropan for approximately 2 years. I had my family doctor refer me to a psychiatrist to see if my medication for depression should be adjusted, as I was feeling like I was having more trouble remembering things (more than normal). I was getting very depressed as I felt like I was losing control.
I happened to be lucky. On my first visit to the specialist, I gave her a list of all the medications I was on (I was taking 6 medications and had to write them down since I could never remember them and even the eye doctor wants to know what you’re taking). As soon as she saw the Ditropan, she told me about confusion being a side effect.
I never even tied the two together. The bladder & the head are rather far apart! I immediately stopped taking the Ditropan and soon after felt so much better. It’s only been about 3 weeks now, but I have not had a depressed moment since. When I was taking the Ditropan, I seemed to be depressed all the time mostly due to the confusion and feelings of inadequacy.
I was attributing my depression and confusion to hitting menopause and just getting older. I am so glad I have a psychiatrist who knows her stuff! It just worries me that there could be hundreds, thousands or even more people out there that are not making the connection.
I hope this will help someone.
Ruthann

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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If you want something for bladder control that is completely safe, natural and side-effect-free, try the herb angelica, which is found in “Saga Pro,” a product by Europharma. It is for both men and women, since it strengthens the bladder. For years my husband thought it was his prostate, but if it was, why would this work so well?? He is finally sleeping better, and I am next on the list to try it!

MV,
Yes there is a difference between Detrol and Detrol LA. LA is an abbreviation for Long-acting. Detrol is given every 12 hours and Detrol LA every 24 hours. There are fewer side-effects because the slower release of the LA form leads to lower blood levels of the medication. For specific side-effects of dementia and cognitive skills I’m not sure, but lower blood levels should decrease side-effects.

Is there a difference between Detrol and Detrol LA with respect to the effects pm dementia or cognitive skills? Thank you.
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: NO DIFFERENCE THAT WE KNOW OF.

Everyone,
Please, understand the RISKS and the BENEFITS of your medication. Drugs are NOT miracles. All evidence points toward lipid lower drugs saving lives.
Detrol and Ditropan can greatly increase your quality of life; no one wants to have to constantly urinate or worse yet have an accident. Rushing to the bathroom especially at night could led to a fall where you might break a hip or otherwise hurt yourself.
Detrol and Ditropan also have side-effect which we saw above AND which were highlighted more famously by Dr. Mark Beer and published in what now is called the “Beers List”
The Beers List compiled a list of medications that were associated with the most harmful effects in the elderly.
For Detrol and Ditropan when they are used for urinary incontinence their are alternatives that have less side-effects: Oxytrol Patch, Detrol LA, Ditropan XL, Gelnique Gel, urge suppression, bladder retraining, surgery, and other devices.
Talk with your pharmacist or physician about the options and ask if there are an other medications you are on that are on the Beers List — don’t be surprized if they have never heard of the list, but if your money is going to them than hold them accountable or take you and your money with you.

DGL=deglycyrrhizinated licorice.
See medline plus for more information.

Yes, what is DGL?
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: DGL IS DEGLYCYRRHIZINATED LICORICE, AN EXTRACT THAT DOES NOT HAVE THE SAME TENDENCY TO RAISE BLOOD PRESSURE AS WHOLE LICORICE EXTRACT.

My second dose of Detrol caused me to pass out in my daughter’s garden. I tore rotator cuff and banged my head on gravel path. Had no memory of taking Detrol, and since it was a sample given by new doctor was not in my records. Because I have AFib, an exhaustive and expensive heart work up was done.
Approximately four months later, I remembered the Detrol;because, not remembering, I had taken a dose and was able to catch myself on bedstead and crawl into bed. I was home alone, and slept it off.
When I told Primary, I was berated for not mentioning it, before. But, I had no memory until the dose four months later.
I am sensitive to drugs and must take small dose of any meds. Also, was 67 when this happened. Hope I can save others grief.
Sha

What is DGL?

Many years ago my urologist prescribed ditropan and I took the drug for about four years. I had an hour’s drive to work each day and I began to realize that many days I could not remember the drive and would arrive at work with my mind in a somewhat “fuzzy” state. I happened to pick up a new prescription for ditropan at the pharmacy and started reading the side effects of the drug.
I saw that my symptoms could be connected to the drug. I stopped taking the drug immediately and decided that I would try to control my bladder some other way (exercises, etc). My symptoms went away and I have not had any problems since. I still cope with bladder issues but I would rather be clear-headed.

For the past 6 years my health has been very slowly deterioriating with nerve, muscle, and memory problems. I’ve been through well over a dozen doctors and PT’s during this time.
I had assumed the memory problem was caused by the pain of system wide muscle strains, injuries, and deterioration. It turns out the cause of all of this was the Statin drug Lipitor. Two weeks after stopping the drug, my finger strength rebounded significantly, and in the past several months my memory, skin, muscle, and nerve health have all shown significant improvements. Unfortunately I have several permanent injuries as a result of this drug.

In yesterday’s newspaper you had a short question and answer regarding heartburn drugs.
About 7 months ago I went to the ER because of severe chest pain. Thought it was a heart attack. After some tests they told me it was acid reflux. My very well known naturopathic doctor told me not to take the heartburn drugs, but instead put me on DGL tablets. I take one twice per day and have not had any heartburn since.
Would you please publish this in your newspaper articles? I think this would be very helpful for people who do not want to take the drugs.
Thank you. Gloria, Reading, PA

I was prescribed amitriptyline for headaches and couldn’t stop sleeping! I also felt sluggish mentally and pretty much dead overall. It was an awful feeling.

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