Man with Parkinson's being helped by a nurse

Most-used Parkinson's drugs not a dementia risk


Research funded by the Alzheimer's Society has pointed to a possible link between some drugs used to treat tremor in Parkinson's and dementia.

Commenting on the study, Professor David Dexter, Deputy Director of Research at Parkinson's UK, said:

"The research published this week shows us that there is a link between anticholinergic drugs and dementia but it does not tell us why – it could be that people who are in the very early stages of dementia are more likely to be prescribed these drugs for other reasons.

"It is important to stress that this a not a problem with the most widely used anti-Parkinson's drugs. This is an issue with one type of drug, anticholinergics, which are now rarely used for Parkinson's. One of the reasons that these medications are being phased out is because they are known to cause memory problems or make them worse.

"It's also important to point that other factors – such as unhealthy lifestyles – have a far greater impact on risk of dementia. Being lonely, for instance, presents an equivalent risk for developing dementia as these drugs.

"Before considering a change to any treatment or medication, people with Parkinson's should consult their specialist or Parkinson's nurse to ensure they make any changes safely and in a way that works best for them."


For more information please contact: 

Molly Horsburgh, Senior Media and PR Officer, Parkinson's UK:  

  • 0207 963 9351
  • Out of hours: 07961 460248 

About Parkinson's UK

Every hour, 2 people are told they have Parkinson's.

It affects 145,000 people in the UK – which is around 1 in every 350 adults.

Parkinson's is a degenerative neurological condition, for which there currently is no cure. The main symptoms of the condition are tremor, slowness of movement and rigidity. 

Parkinson's UK is the UK's leading charity supporting those with the condition. Its mission is to find a cure and improve life for everyone affected by Parkinson's through cutting edge research, information, support and campaigning.