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Memory Loss Forum

If you think your memory loss was caused by a medication, please share your experience.

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Subj: Maxalt
Date: 6/4/2010
I thought I was going crazy, I think my Maxalt is causing memory loss, mostly short term, but some long term, I’ve noticed being very forgetful the days after taking one, and having such frequent migraines I think taking too much has really affected my memory.


Subj: Supplements to help memory?
Date: 6/8/2010
I had DCIS last year, and had to have 2 biopsys (one needle and one MRI) then I had 3 lumpectomies, (which the third one finally got a clear margin) which my doctor said if she did not get a clear margin I would have to have a mastectomy. Then I had to take 33 days of radiation and am now on tamoxifen for 5 years. My question: can being put to sleep all these times and taking radiation and now tamoxifen affect my memory? I feel more scattered in my thinking and can put something down and not remember where I put it. I have to make notes of everything lately especially grocery items. Have to keep a calendar around to remember appointments and birthdays, etc. I don’t know if it is not being able to take hormones any longer or all this other stuff that is affecting me. Is there any supplements that would help memory?


AskDocWeb: Sometimes anesthesia can affect the memory for several days after recovery but it has not been reported to cause long-term memory loss. There is a product called Cyntol that combines 12 supplements for memory and cognitive function.

Subj: Memory loss after surgery?
Date: 6/23/2010
Meds and/or Anesthesia Causing Short-term Memory Loss? I’m 65 and take several meds, but beginning taking Welbutrin is connected in time with the beginning of my problems: difficulty remembering names. Today in conversation I couldn’t remember Steven Hawkings and Rupert Murdoch. I often have difficulty putting my students’ names with their faces. Also I’ve heard that being under anesthesia causes memory loss. I’ve had 4 big surgeries with anesthesia in 5 years. Could that be a cause?


AskDocWeb: Having first hand experience with memory loss problems after surgery, we know that anesthesia can affect memory for several days afterward. Research suggests that overall, some 30 to 41 percent of adult patients undergoing major non-cardiac surgery have some form of memory loss when they are discharged, but most people recover after three months. Unfortunately those 60 and older are more than twice as likely to still have problems three months after surgery.

Subj: Chances of recovering short term memory
Date: 7/12/2010
I have been on 2 mgs. of clonazepam at HS for 20 years. I am now trying to taper off. I have noticed significant short term memory loss over time which I never knew was related to the medication. What are my chances of recovering my short term working memory? I am now 62 and admittedly frightened. I hit the wall with this med in the last week when no reasonable dose was enough…. and have been looking for help. I’m terrified that my once excellent memory is permanently impaired. I have a hard time storing new information, though my situational memory is still very good. Thank-you.


AskDocWeb: We didn’t find anything that would indicate your chances of recovering your short term memory but did come across a couple of studies that offered some hope. One focused on physical activity and the other on mental activity. Research from Australia shows that physical exercise may help treat memory problems in adults. The study focused on 138 people age 50 and older found that a home-based physical activity program led to modest improvements in cognitive function in adults with memory difficulties. The other study found that every time a senior took part in a mental activity such as reading, writing or playing games or music, the person appeared to delay memory loss by about two to three months.

Subj: Zoloft impaired short-term memory
Date: 7/13/2010
I am 24 years old, and was on Zoloft recently for about seven months (100mgs/day), before quitting the drug. I am convinced that Zoloft impaired my short-term memory- this was the main reason I stopped taking the drug. I used to always have a quick recall- an amazing short-term memory- before taking Zoloft, even during times when I was severely depressed. So I am surprised that Zoloft isn’t on your list of drugs that cause memory loss.


AskDocWeb: Our list contains drugs that have an incidence rate of memory loss of 1% or higher. Although it appears that less than 1% of Zoloft users experience memory loss, this may be a concern with all SSRIs.

Subj: Xanax?
Date: 7/23/2010
I occasionally take a low dose of xanax, maybe 2-3x per week. Will this have an effect on my memory?

AskDocWeb: About one third of Xanax users (33.1%) report problems with their memory.

Subj: LabanUp
Date: 7/29/2010
After drinking a lot of LabanUp – ( Butter milk) in Dubai I experience memory loss. 1997 to 1998


Subj: Hair loss and memory loss
Date: 8/5/2010
I had heard that Zantac can cause hair loss and memory. Is this true? I have been taking Zantac for a little over a year and it has helped. My primary care Dr. suggested it before checking further and it worked great. I take Zantac 75 in the morning and sometimes at night if I think I need it. In the pharmacy they said it was perfectly safe. What is your opinion? If it does cause hair loss and memory loss could you recommend one that works just as well but doesnt have such side effects, thank you.

AskDocWeb: Thanks Mari, a little checking allowed us to add Zantac and a number of other drugs to the list of drugs that list hair loss as a possible side effect.

There is a whole class of drugs that cause memory loss called anticholinergics. These drugs block the actions of an important nerve transmitter called acetylcholine, a brain chemical that is crucial to memory function. Anticholinergic drugs cover a broad range of medicationa. They include anti reflux drugs like ranitidine (Zantac), as well as a long list of other drugs.

  • Antihistamines
  • tricyclic antidepressants
  • drugs for urinary incontinence
  • bronchodilators
  • antiemetics
  • antispasmodics
  • antiarrhythmic drugs like Digoxin
  • high blood pressure drugs like Procardia
  • analgesics like codeine
  • anti Parkinson drugs
  • corticosteroids like prednisone
  • skeletal muscle relaxants
  • ulcer drugs
  • diuretics like furosemide (Lasix)
  • warfarin
  • psychotropic drugs
  • anti-anxiolytics (anti anxiety drugs)
  • benzodiazepine family of depressants used to produce sedation, induce sleep, relieve anxiety and muscle spasms, and to prevent seizures

Acetylcholine is necessary for a good memory.

Subj: Could not remember my address
Date: 8/13/2010
I take 100 mg Zoloft daily for depression and take Imitrex 50 mg or Treximet on occasion for migraines. Today for 5 minutes I could not remember my home address to save my life. Should I be concerned? Is this a red flag of worse things to come?

AskDocWeb: Not being able to remember your home address does raise a red flag so hopefully you will be concerned enough to talk this over with your doctor.

Subj: Memory loss
Date: 9/6/2010
Bupropion HCL (B-09) I feel I have memory loss after taking this med for depression about 3 years. I have difficulty remembering what I have read, shortly after doing so. I am having difficulty finding the correct words when I am trying to converse. I used to be able to spell most anything and now sometimes can’t figure it out well enough to find it in a dictionary. Where do I get help?

AskDocWeb: The first step for those concerned about memory loss is to see your doctor. He or she can help determine the cause of your memory loss. And because you are dealing with a memory problem, it is helpful to prepare a list of questions on paper to make sure all of your concerns are addressed. Prioritizing your list, with most important at the top, will help make the most of your time with your doctor, in case time runs out. Here is a sample list of basic questions to ask the doctor:

  • Can I wait to see if the condition goes away on its own?
  • What’s the best course of action?
  • What tests do you recommend?
  • Should I consult a specialist? What will that cost, and will insurance cover it?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach being suggested?
  • Are my symptoms caused by normal aging, or is it something more serious?
  • What are the possible causes of memory loss besides Alzheimer’s disease?
  • Is the condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • Is there a generic alternative to the medicine causing the memory loss?
  • What results can I expect?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material or Web sites to look at?
  • What kind of follow-up, if any, should I expect?

Many of the causes of forgetfulness are reversible. Work with your doctor to determine what’s going on and what can be done about it.

There are things you can do to give yourself some peace of mind if you have to live with memory loss.

  • Always carry appropriate identification, including their name and address and an emergency contact number. An identity bracelet is a good idea.
  • Consider home modifications and equipment to automatically cut-off or limit the use of water, reduce the maximum temperature of hot water and put limits on other appliances.
  • communication book by the phone or somewhere handy can provide a list of what’s happening and who has been to visit
  • Display emergency and commonly used telephone numbers near every phone

Be sure to give your doctor a list of all medications you use, including over-the-counter and herbal remedies, some herbs interact with medication.

Subj: Memory loss for 4 years
Date: 9/27/2010
I was on a drug that caused memory loss for 4 years. I was like a dead person. Get off the drug your on NOW. Don’t lose your life over a drug and ALL YOUR GREAT MEMORIES. Try something new. There are many drugs out there to try…good luck!


AskDocWeb: What were you taking?

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