Surgery News

Dementia drugs Aricept, Exelon and Reminyl may put some patients at risk

January 28, 2016

If the association with dementia drugs is not identified, people who faint may be prescribed a permanent pacemaker: an invasive procedure that can involve serious complications for seniors. Both the injuries incurred from falling and the risks from pacemaker implants are "downstream consequences" of not recognizing this drug-induced phenomenon.

"This study does not suggest that dementia patients shouldn't take these drugs," says Dr. Gill. "What's critical is that patients, caregivers and physicians be aware of the potential side effects, and weigh these risks carefully against the potential for beneficial effects."

The findings are published in the journal, Archives of Internal Medicine. Scientists from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, the University of Toronto and Harvard University are also on the research team.

The study uses data housed at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES). Ontario's first satellite unit of ICES was established at Queen's in 2007 to provide university researchers with electronic access to Ontario health datasets and population registries by secured and encrypted lines. Areas of focus at Queen's include cancer, pharmacological studies and dementia.

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