Be Informed About Your Medications

Some of the medications you may be taking, including over-the-counter drugs, could be contributing to some of your memory problems.  Many years ago a friend visited me and reported that she was having more word finding difficulties and it was worrying her. Several days later she talked about having trouble sleeping and said she was taking Benadryl on a regular basis. Since it is on the list of antihistamines that can contribute to memory difficulties, she decided to stop taking it for awhile to see if she had less issues with word finding.  From there she was going to have a conversation with her physician about possible causes for her sleeping problems.

In northeastern Ohio the complaints of allergy symptoms have been a popular topic for discussion this year. Itchy eyes, runny nose and constant sneezing are not only annoying but distracting. Prior to my issues with chemical sensitivities, I got some occasional relief using an antihistamine during the August/September hay fever season and did not seem to have any noticeable side effects. But that changed and what I once tolerated made me very hyper and I had trouble sleeping. This was the first year I was tempted to search out one of the popular products but choose to do some other proactive measures to find some relief.  My medication choices now have been based on personal experience from decades ago and I feel that awareness for all of us is very important in order to make more informed choices.

What can you do? First of all, do not discontinue any prescription medications without discussing your concerns with your doctor. Make sure you inform all of your doctors about the supplements you are taking since they could interact with your other medications and, in some cases, might need to be discontinued before surgery.When I was dealing with chemical sensitivities I had to change doctors. This began in 1982 and years ago there was less interest in discussing alternative medicine and supplements and I needed to have a physician who was willing to have the conversation about the recommendations of the specialist I was seeing.  Have an open and honest talk with your doctors and make sure they are receptive to listening to your concerns about your memory and any relationship to your current medications.

Do some research to become better informed when considering something you can purchase without a prescription. Have a discussion with your doctor. Create a record of your current medications and any over-the-counter drugs and supplements. Make copies of this information for each of your doctors.

To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. Buddha

Quick Link to all blogs and Memory Toolkit.  For more tips refer to Walking the Path to Memory Fitness One Week at a a Time.

About Kathryn Kilpatrick

Kathryn Kilpatrick received her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 1968 from the University of Massachusetts. She has worked in a variety of settings, primarily in Ohio, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and for decades in the area of home health care. Kathryn is president of Memory Fitness Matters ( and Communication Connection( She offers memory coaching for all ages and has a geriatric consulting practice. She is a national motivational speaker and author of more than 30 products to enhance communication and connection as well as a Memory Fitness Toolkit. Kathryn brings her decades of experience as a speech-language pathologist to all those wanting to enhance their quality of life, particularly when there are communication, memory and cognitive challenges. Her websites offer information on a wide variety of topics related to elder care concerns as well as memory fitness and successful aging.
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