It’s Detox or Dementia: Why Pill Poppin’ Mamas should be worried!

Kerry Cue

Sibuylesque Orwell Quote 1As we age, many of us collect more and more medications. But specialists in geriatric medicine (Oops! That’s the 65+ age group) are telling patients around the world it is time to DETOX. Overmedication is causing more dementia than it is curing.

Sibylesque pill bottlesFor instance, 40% of Australians in the 65+ age group take 5 or more medications. In an article by Jill Robotham (Health Risk for Over Medicated Elderly, The Age, 5 Jan 2009) David Le Couteur, director of the Centre for Education and Research on Ageing at the University of Sydney said ‘Ceasing to take medicines such as sleeping pills and antidepressants improved people’s mental abilities and reduced the likelihood of serious falls’. Professor Le Couteur, a geriatrician at Concord Hospital, Sydney, explained that evidence based research looking into the effects of taking multiple drugs is “almost non-existent”. Meanwhile, in one study 85% of older patients had stable blood pressure 6 months to five years after being taken off blood pressure tablets.

Dr Tannenbaum's 18 week Benzodiapapinne DETOX schedule.

Dr Tannenbaum’s 18 week benzodiazepine DETOX schedule.

Meanwhile, in another informative article in the New York Times by honorary Sibyl, Paula Span (Weaning Older Patients Off Sleeping Pills, 2 Jul 2014), Dr. Cara Tannenbaum, who holds an endowed chair in geriatric pharmacy at the University of Montreal, explained ‘People taking sleeping pills are five times more likely to report problems with concentration and memory … Twice as likely to have a hip fracture. Twice as likely to have a car accident the next day if they’re driving.’

They also experience more incontinence.

Not only does Dr. Tannenbaum and colleagues want older people to detox by weaning themselves from benzodiazepines (Sleep and anxiety medication. Brand names include: Ativan, Ambien, Halcion, Klonopin, Lunesta, Sonata, Valium and Xanax.), they have produced a downloadable brochure to help them do it.

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