Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) are the main form of treatment for people with epilepsy. But certain variants of antiepileptic drugs are found to impair the cognitive functioning that would show its effect in the overall information processing in the body.
Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, DZNE, stated that prolonged dosage of antiepileptic drugs for a period exceeding one year was found to be correlated with a 15 percent increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease in the Finnish dataset, and with a 30 percent increased risk of dementia in the German dataset.
The researchers also found that the dosage of such drug was directly proportional to the risk of disease, i.e. higher the dose of a drug that impairs cognitive function, the higher the risk of dementia. However, other antiepileptic drugs, i.e. those which do not impair cognitive processing, were not linked with the risk.
“More research should be conducted into the long-term cognitive effects of these drugs, especially among older people,” Senior Researcher Heidi Taipale from the University of Eastern Finland said.
The Finnish Medication and Alzheimer’s disease (MEDALZ) aims at investigating the changes in medication and healthcare service use among persons with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and to take account of the safety and effectiveness of medications in this group. This study is part of the nationwide register-based MEDALZ study, which includes all 70,718 persons diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in Finland during 2005-2011 and their 282,862 controls.
The association of antiepileptic drug use with dementia was investigated in a sample from a large German statutory health insurance provider, Allgemeine Ortskrankenkasse (AOK). The dataset includes 20,325 persons diagnosed with dementia in 2004-2011, and their 81,300 controls.
The study has been published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
It has been said that AED drugs are different and not all are linked to the risk of the disease. These drugs reduce the excessive electrical activity in the brain that cause seizures. The mechanism of these drugs is not completely understood however different AED follow slightly different path when it comes to their mode of action.