Memory is a tool that allows us to survive and thrive in this world by recalling important information. Additionally, memory is the only thing that is proof of emotions experienced in the past, regardless of them being negative or positive. Although there are conditions like dementia that lead to loss of memory, there are drugs available on the market today that cause memory impairment to various degrees.
Alprazolam belongs to the highly potent triazolobenzodiazepine class of medicines, and it is a tranquilizer that is used exclusively in the treatment of anxiety disorders such as panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. It lowers anxiety as well as relaxes the muscles. It achieves this by binding to the gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA receptors, and by doing so, it enhances the effects of the said receptor to block certain neuron functions. Patients commonly experience dizziness, depression, and cognitive impairment. In some rare cases, alprazolam has also been linked with suicide.
Brand Name: Xanax
Discovered in the late 1950s, Amitriptyline is among the most prescribed medicines in the United States, with over 8 million Americans using it. Despite it being used by a large number of people, physicians don’t recommend this medicine as a first choice. It is a tricyclic antidepressant, and it is used for the treatment of the major depressive disorder, stress headaches, and neuropathic pain. Although amitriptyline doesn’t damage the learning abilities, it can cause anterograde memory issues.
Brand Name: Elavil
Atorvastatin is a lipid-lowering medication that frequently causes memory loss, along with joint pain, indigestion, and nausea. Fortunately, the memory loss only persists as long as the medication is being administered, and once the patient stops taking atorvastatin, the memory returns to normal. It is used in the treatment of stroke, heart attack, and angina.
Brand Name: Lipitor
The transfer of electricity between two cells occurs through the utilization of sodium channels in the brain. Carbamazepine targets these sodium channels and gradually shuts them, resulting in no electrical activity between certain parts of the brain. It is primarily used in the treatment of epilepsy and neuropathic pain. Users have reported that their short-term memory becomes worse each day with this medicine.
Brand Name: Tegretol
While this is also an anti-anxiety drug, it is mostly prescribed to people who are suffering from insomnia or alcohol withdrawal. It works by lowering the brain’s electrical activity that is irregular or abnormal, and because of this, it has some sedative and muscle relaxing properties. Compromised sex drive, memory, learning, and general confusion are some of the most frequently experienced side effects of chlordiazepoxide.
Brand Name: Librium
Clomipramine belongs to the class of tricyclic antidepressants, and it works by boosting the amount of serotonin in the system. Serotonin is a mood enhancer, and it also maintains the natural balance of the brain. Clomipramine is usually prescribed to people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and major depressive disorder. During the course of clomipramine, a person can experience weight gain or loss, impotence, disorientation, hallucinations, and memory impairment.
Brand Name: Anafranil
Desipramine is also a tricyclic antidepressant as well. Although it does inhibit serotonin reuptake, it is extremely weak. Largely, it works by inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine, this hormone helps with the flight or fight response. In addition to being prescribed to people with depression, it is also used in the treatment of ADHD. Patients have reported experiencing blurred vision, dry mouth, and memory impairment.
Brand Name: Norpramin
Another medicine that belongs to the benzodiazepine family, and like other medicines in this class, it works by enhancing the gamma-aminobutyric acid activity in the brain. Interestingly, causing a loss of memory is intentionally done medically in some patients. Granted, it is only carried out in very specific conditions involving the government. Generally, it is used for the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, and panic attacks.
Brand Name: Valium
Diphenhydramine is commonly used to treat allergies, as it is an antihistamine. It works by inhibiting the function of histamines, which are chemicals that are released as the immune system’s natural response to allergens. Diphenhydramine can easily cross the blood-brain barrier, hence, it enters the brain in large quantities, causing all sorts of side effects. The most notable one is drowsiness; however, in the long term, it can impair cognitive abilities and damage short-term memory.
Brand Name: Benadryl
More commonly known as Retigabine, it is used to treat partial epilepsy in adults. It reduces the level of abnormal brain activity, along with opening the potassium channels, which results in calming the patient. Ezogabine can cause dizziness, slurred speech, confusion, memory loss, and double vision.
Brand Name: Potiga
On its own, Fentanyl doesn’t cause memory impairment; however, if it is being administered with other medicine or illicit drugs, it can result in brain damage. Amnesia has been reported in people who were using fentanyl with other opioids or prescription medicine. Fentanyl works by binding to the opioid receptors, which often results in desensitization to pain, sedation, and respiratory depression.
Brand Name: Duragesic
Used in the treatment of epilepsy and as a mood stabilizer for patients with bipolar disorder, lamotrigine was first used in 1991 in the United Kingdom. Lamotrigine decreases the intensity of abnormal brain activity by delaying the time it takes to experience a mania state after a mood change, although it is only an assumption, as the exact workings of this medicine are unknown. Some frequently experienced adverse effects include rashes, blurred vision, dizziness, and memory issues.
Brand Name: Lamictal
Lovastatin targets the liver and slows the production of cholesterol. It was specifically designed to carry out this action in the body to lower the cholesterol buildup in the arteries. It is used to treat excess cholesterol, dyslipidemia, and other cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, it is listed on the essential medicine list of the World Health Organization. Long-term use of lovastatin can lead to confusion, swelling, gastrointestinal issues, memory loss, and fatigue.
Brand Name: Altoprev
Midazolam slows down brain activity, resulting in sedation. It is mostly used by healthcare professionals to induce anesthesia, procedural sedation, and treat severe agitation. Sometimes, it is also used to relieve acute seizures. Midazolam only has a half-life of 1.5 hours, after that, its potency begins to decrease. Interestingly, people using midazolam are unaware of amnesia, and only begin to notice the memory issues as they worsen.
Brand Name: Dormicum
It is one of the most popular and used analgesic medicine. Morphine is an opiate, meaning it attaches to the opioid receptors that are distributed across the brain, and by doing so, it changes the pain response of the nervous system. This process works amazingly, as morphine has been the go-to analgesic for severe pain since 1804. Interestingly, in a clinical trial conducted with opioid users, none of the participants showed a preference for heroin over morphine, and vice versa. Despite it being used for such a long time, it can cause memory impairment. The only reason why it is still used for the said purpose even after knowing the drawback is that around 90% of the morphine administered via an injection in the world is to relieve pain immediately after an accident or operation in the hospitals.
Brand Name: Avinza
Oxybutynin is used in the treatment of overactive bladder. It works by relaxing the muscles surrounding the bladder, which gives the bladder more room to expand and the ability to hold more urine. The effects of oxybutynin last anywhere from 5 to 7 hours. As for the adverse effects, it is known to cause gastrointestinal issues, headaches, urinary tract infections, and gradual deterioration of memory.
Brand Name: Gelnique
By decreasing the seizure and pain-causing nerve impulses, oxcarbazepine provides relief to patients that are suffering from epilepsy and bipolar disease. Although it is only prescribed as a short-term solution, prolonged use of this medicine can cause all sorts of complications. A person using oxcarbazepine for a long time can experience dizziness, fatigue, lack of concentration, and amnesia.
Brand Name: Trileptal
Pramipexole works by overtaking the function of dopamine, and since it can partially cross the blood-brain barrier. It boosts the transfer of signals that are usually carried out by dopamine to control fine motor movement. It is prescribed to people with Parkinson’s disease and restless leg syndrome. Insomnia, amnesia, confusion, and hallucinations are some of the frequent adverse effects of pramipexole.
Brand Name: Mirapex
Another statin medicine is among the most commonly used medicine in the United States. On the list of commonly prescribed medicines, Pravastatin ranked 32nd, which means there are roughly 20 million Americans that use this medicine. Similar to other statin medicines, it inhibits the production of cholesterol, resulting in unclogging of the arteries. It causes memory impairment, muscle pain, nausea, and swelling. As for the memory issues, those are reversible.
Brand Name: Pravachol
Pregabalin is both an anticonvulsant and anxiolytic, which means not only it is used in the treatment of epilepsy and restless leg syndrome but also in generalized anxiety disorder. It slows the nerve impulses that are linked with seizures. Although dizziness and drowsiness are experienced by each user, a majority of them also experienced deterioration of both verbal and visual episodic memory; however, there are other studies that state it doesn’t cause memory impairment.
Brand Name: Lyrica
It falls in the category of beta-blockers, and it is mainly used in many cardiovascular problems, such as high blood pressure and irregular heart rate; however, it is also prescribed to people with stage fright. Propranolol slows the heart rate by changing the response to selective nerve impulses. Memory loss is a well-known side effect of propranolol, and interestingly, it is prescribed to people with post-traumatic stress disorder to erase memories of recent traumatic events.
Brand Name: Inderal
This medicine is used primarily in the treatment of insomnia. The workings of quazepam are not fully understood, but it is believed that it works by restoring mental balance. Patients have reported engaging and completing activities like driving, eating, or calling, but having no memory of it whatsoever. Additionally, it also causes some cognitive impairments.
Brand Name: Doral
Mostly used in the treatment of movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease and restless leg syndrome, ropinirole is a dopamine agonist. Interestingly, it works by imitating dopamine and it attaches to specific dopamine receptors, resulting in smoother movements. Ropinirole can cause amnesia and memory impairment.
Brand Name: Requip
Sotalol is a non-selective beta-adrenergic receptor blocker. It is only prescribed to patients that have severe abnormal heart rhythms because of dangerous side effects, which are hypotension, impotence, dizziness, memory loss, and shortness of breath.
Brand Name: Betapace
Temazepam is only prescribed for a maximum of 10 days, as it can cause other complications and disorders. It is a benzodiazepine, and it works by slowing brain activity to help patients sleep better, and it is exclusively used in the treatment of insomnia. Adverse effects of temazepam include dizziness, confusion, anaphylaxis, ataxia, and memory loss.
Brand Name: Restoril
Topiramate works by restoring the balance of electrical signals in the brain, and it is used to relieve epilepsy and prevent migraines. Since it works by disrupting the flow of electrical signals, patients have reported experiencing a deterioration of both short and long-term memory, along with cognition impairment.
Brand Name: Topamax
It works by boosting the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid in the system, and it inhibits the flow of certain neurotransmitters, resulting in a calming effect in insomniacs. Unlike other medicines that cause memory loss, zolpidem restricts the brain from forming new memories.
Brand Name: Ambien
Memory impairment, particularly spatial memory, is one of the most frequently experienced adverse effects of zonisamide. It is a sodium channel opener, and it is used in the treatment of epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.
Brand Name: Zonegran