According to a new study, a class of drugs commonly prescribed to treat conditions like depression, insomnia and bladder issues could make it more difficult for Wisconsin patients to recover from brain injuries. The medications, called anticholinergics, are given to up 50 percent of older patients around the country.
The study, which was conducted by a group of British scientists and published in the journal Brain Injury, examined 52 patients who were treated at a neuro-rehabilitation unit for brain injuries or spinal injuries. Patients in neuro-rehab are often prescribed anticholinergics to alleviate pain, urinary incontinence and other problems. Researchers discovered that patients with higher levels of anticholinergic drug burden, or ACB, in their system had longer average rehab stays than patients with lower levels of ACB.