'A common type of prescription medicine has been linked to an almost 50 per cent higher chance of getting dementia.
Anticholinergic drugs, used to treat people with epilepsy, Parkinson's, depression and incontinence, may be linked to the brain disorder.
Researchers studied more than 280,000 people in the UK to work out how the medicines affected dementia risk.
They found the memory-robbing disorder was more common among people who were prescribed these types of drugs and suggested damage they cause to nerve cells could be to blame.
Although they said anticholinergic meds should be prescribed 'with caution' to middle-aged and older people, they also warned patients not to stop taking their medication.
But if the link was found to be a direct cause, the pills could be responsible for as many as one in 10 dementia cases, the experts added.
Scientists at the University of Nottingham looked at decades' worth of prescribing and diagnosis data for 284,343 over-55s registered with GPs in the UK.
Nearly 59,000 of the people studied were diagnosed with dementia at some point.
Within the 11 years leading up to their dementia diagnosis, 56.6 per cent of the patients (33,253) had been prescribed anticholinergic medications.
The researchers said the odds of someone developing dementia increased by 49 per cent if they were given the drugs within 11 years of their diagnosis.
And they added the associations appeared to be stronger in people diagnosed with dementia before they were 80, suggesting the drugs played a greater role for them.
The biggest increases were seen in those who took antidepressants, anti-Parkinson's drugs, antipsychotics, antiepileptic drugs and those used to control bladder incontinence.
Professor Tom Dening said: 'This study provides further evidence that doctors should be careful when prescribing certain drugs that have anticholinergic properties.
'However, it's important that patients taking medications of this kind don't just stop them abruptly as this may be much more harmful.
'If patients have concerns, then they should discuss them with their doctor to consider the pros and cons of the treatment they are receiving.'
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