The use of psychoactive medications and cognitive function in older adults

Stig Berg, Cheryl Dellasega

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This study examined the relationship between cognitive function and psychotropic medication use in a population sample (n = 743) of elderly persons. Approximately one third of subjects received such agents, winch consisted primarily of anxiolytics, hypnotics, and antidepressants. Subjects received a battery of cognitive tests at three time points: when they were 70, 75, and 79 years of age. Data on medication use revealed that the use of psychoactive agents increased with age, and was greater for females. A cross- sectional analysis showed that those using psychoactive medicines had lower cognitive test scores compared with those who did not receive such drugs. Repeated measures analysis of variance demonstrated that psychotropics had a negative and cumulative effect on cognition, with the function of subjects who received psychoactive agents consistently poorer than those who did not. The magnitude of this effect is relatively small and for several cognitive tests subjects who received these drugs averaged only a few points lower than individuals not using psychoactive medicines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-149
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'The use of psychoactive medications and cognitive function in older adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this