Talk to a board certified doctor
in just a few minutes!

OTC Sleeping Aids – the Eye-Opening Facts Behind Them

Written by S.O.

Posted on December 14, 2015 at 5:19 pm

otc sleep

It is fairly common for people who have chronic insomnia to find trouble sleeping. Such individuals often seek the aid of sleeping pills in order to get a good night’s sleep. These sleeping aids are easily available over the counter (OTC) without having to show a doctor’s prescription, however not all of these should be consumed unless prescribed.

While these OTC sleeping drugs can potentially be effective in the short-run, they are not necessarily good in the long-run. Rather, according to a study, OTC sleeping aids can increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Here, let’s take a look at what the study has found.

Higher Risk of Dementia From Taking Anticholinergics

Many anticholinergics like Nytol, Sleepinal, antidepressants like Sinequan and anti-allergy drugs including Benadryl and Piriton are found to cause a high risk of dementia among patients. These drugs are said to have blocking effects on the nervous system including the brain. Their use increases the likelihood of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s like symptoms if taken for a long period of time i.e. amounting to several years.

Risk of Dementia Remains Long After You Stop Taking the Drugs

While these anticholinergic type drugs have always been seen to have side effects like drowsiness, dizziness, restlessness, urinary problems, and breathing problems – this study proved that these drugs can have far more severe effects like dementia and brain damage. Even if you stop taking these OTC sleeping aids, the risk of dementia remains for quite some time.

Higher the Cumulative Dose, Higher the Risk of Dementia

Once you start taking OTC sleeping pills regularly, the dose tolerance builds up and increases. As a result, people often double and triple their dose. While, this may effectively sort out your insomnia, you are in fact playing Russian roulette with your life. This is because according to the findings of the study, the more drugs you take, the more exposed you are to them which leads to a higher risk of developing dementia.

Regardless of the findings of the study, it does not mean that you should stop your therapy. Rather, you should make an appointment with your health care providers and discuss with them the OTC drugs you are taking so that they can see for themselves if you really need anticholinergic drugs and thereby properly guide you on the ideal dose. The good thing is that you do not even have to go out to have a conversation with an expert as help is available in the form of telemedicine. So get in touch with us today!

Talk to a board certified doctor
just in few minutes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Try DocChat!

(2 Minute Registration)

App Store

Google Play


* Disclaimer: DocChat is intended as a complementary service to your primary care physician. It is intended for use by those seeking acute health care in non-emergency situations. DocChat does not prescribe DEA-controlled substances, narcotics, or drugs that may potentially be abused. DocChat is not a replacement for your primary care doctor and will only provide short-term prescriptions if medically necessary. If you have an emergency, call 911. If you have a chronic illness, please see your primary care physician. DocChat does not guarantee that our doctors will prescribe medication. DocChat reserves the right to refuse service to any patients it deems to be abusing the intended service or seeking prescriptions beyond a reasonable amount.