Beware: 20 Medications That Cause Memory Loss

More than 100,000 deaths a year are caused by prescription medicine, and additional 1.5 million people are hospitalized due to the serious side effects of prescribed medications.

Medicine side effects are the fourth main cause of death in the US. Memory loss is just one of the health risks of prescription drugs.

medications that cause memory loss

Top 3 Types of Drugs That Lead to Memory Loss

Three groups of medications have been identified as potential causes of memory loss and other cognitive problems. It is very likely that every type of medicine belongs to one of the following groups:

The “Anti” Drugs

The drugs that begin with “anti,” such as antidepressants, antibiotics, antipsychotics, antispasmodics, antihistamines, or antihypertensives, are likely to influence your acetylcholine levels.

Acetylcholine is the principal neurotransmitter, and it takes part in both learning and memory. Low acetylcholine levels can produce symptoms that are very similar to dementia, memory loss, mental confusion, hallucinations, blurred vision and delirium.

Sleeping Pills

Prescribed sleeping pills are well-known for their influence on memory loss.

Some people refer to the famous drug Ambien as “the amnesia drug,” because Ambien users have reported sleep walking, night terrors, sleep driving and hallucinations.

These medications have the capacity to produce states similar to coma or being passed out drunk, and at the same time deprive the brain of the recuperative sleep it needs. If you are using sleeping pills, try replacing them with one of the far better options that will help you get rid of insomnia!


Statins are a class of cholesterol lowering drugs, and presumably the most harmful group of drugs for the brain. Their label is now required to list memory loss as a side effect.

One quarter of the body’s cholesterol is found in the brain, and it is essential for learning, memory, and fast thinking. This is the reason that cholesterol-lowering pills produce adverse effects on the brain.

20 drugs that cause memory loss

Richard C. Mohs, Ph.D.–former vice chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine Here–made this list of drugs that have memory loss as a possible side effect:

  • Medications for epilepsy — phenytoin or Dilantin
  • Medications for Parkinson’s — scopolamine, glycopyrrolate, atropine
  • Sleeping pills — Ambien, Sonata, Lunesta
  • Painkillers — heroin, codeine, morphine
  • Benzodiazepines — Valium, Xanax, Dalmane, Ativan
  • Lithium
  • Quinidine
  • Insulin
  • Steroids
  • Antibiotics (Quinolones)
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Antihistamines
  • Interferons
  • Naproxen
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Antihypertensive drugs
  • Beta blockers (particularly those used for glaucoma)
  • Methyldopa
  • Antipsychotics —Mellaril, Haldol
  • Barbiturates — Amytal, Seconal, Nembutal, phenobarbital

How to proceed if you’re taking some of these drugs

First of all, you should consult your doctor in case you notice any adverse effects on your memory.

Ask them to recommend better alternatives — different medicines and/or healthier lifestyle changes.

If you decide to carry on with your prescription medicine, you should try reducing the pressure on your brain by taking proactive approach, like practicing a brain-healthy diet, doing physical exercises that are beneficial for your brain, and taking proper brain supplements.

Providing your brain with a healthy environment will help you preserve your brainpower despite the side effect of your medications.