Drugs That May Cause Memory Loss

By , 8:00 am on

Some forgetfulness is inherent in aging, but experts now know that memory loss is not inevitable. In some cases, the medications that seniors depend on can also result in forgetfulness and confusion. If your senior parent or loved one has been more forgetful than normal, Home Care Assistance of Phoenix, AZ recommends reviewing their medications for the following:


Benzodiazepenes are used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms, delirium, insomnia, and to prevent seizures. These drugs cause memory problems by decreasing activity in the part of the brain that transfers short-term memories to long-term memories.


Statins are used to treat high cholesterol. Unfortunately, the brain contains 25 percent of all the cholesterol in your body, so lowering those levels can cause cognitive impairment. In 2012, he FDA ordered a label put on the containers warning of possible memory problems.

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Tricyclic antidepressants are prescribed for many ailments other than depression, such as anxiety, hot flashes, eating disorders, chronic pain, and more. It is believed that they block serotonin and norepinephrine from being able to transport brain messages.

Narcotic Painkillers

Narcotic painkillers, also called opioids, are used to relieve moderate to severe chronic pain. These drugs dull the pain signals and the brain’s emotional reaction to pain, which interferes with other cognitive functions. Used long term, they can cause long and short-term memory problems.

Dopamine Agonists

Used to treat Parkinson’s disease, these medications affect the supply of dopamine to the brain. Side effects can include not only memory loss, but drowsiness, delusions, confusion and hallucinations. If you have a senior loved one living with Parkinson’s, learn more about personalized, in-home Parkinson’s care in Phoenix.

If your senior is having memory loss problems that you feel are unusual, talk to their doctor about whether one of their medications may be the cause. There are many more medications that may cause memory problems, so do your research and work with the doctor to find a solution. There are often alternative drugs or other alternative therapies that can promote memory and cognitive functioning.

Have other questions about caring for a senior loved one? Call 602.388.1085 and request a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with an experienced Care Manager from Home Care Assistance. While we are recognized as the Phoenix live-in care specialists, we also provide hourly home care on an as-needed basis so seniors can enjoy the exact level of care they need, when they need it.