Some medications can impair thinking skills as a side effect, especially a group of drugs called anticholinergics. These block the effects of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that’s responsible for stimulation and activity in the brain. When acetylcholine is blocked, brain activity may slow down, resulting in confusion. There are many types of anticholinergics found in over-the-counter and prescription medications. These include medications used to treat incontinence (oxybutynin) or depression (amitriptyline); medications that are used to treat muscle spasms like cyclobenzaprine; and medications to treat allergies or help you sleep (diphenhydramine).
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