Medications and Cognition in Older Adults

  • Gregg L. Caporaso
Part of the Clinical Handbooks in Neuropsychology book series (CHNEURO)


The elderly patient is particularly susceptible to negative effects on cognition that can arise from certain medications. Such effects may occur whether or not pre-existing cognitive impairment is present. Medications whose primary target is the central nervous system (e.g., antidepressants, antipsychotics, sedative-hypnotics) or those which are targeted to other primary systems (e.g., cardiovascular drugs, urinary antispasmodics) should be considered as contributing factors in the patient with new confusion or memory decline. Steps that can be taken to reduce this risk include coordination of medical care among the patient’s various physicians to avoid polypharmacy, judicious selection of appropriate medications, use of the lowest effective drug dose, and substitution of non-pharmacologic therapies whenever possible. This chapter addresses potential complications of medication use in older adults with cognitive decline.


Cognition Elderly Medications Tricyclic antidepressants Antipsychotics Neuroleptics Anticholinergics Benzodiazepines Opiates 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregg L. Caporaso
    • 1
  1. 1.GenevaSwitzerland

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