Memory disorders

Memory disorders “significantly associated” with antidepressant and isotretinoin use

Memory disorders and related problems are a key concern of members,

including those affected by isotretinoin (Accutane, Roaccutane) and antidepressants (fluoxetine, paroxetine and venlafaxine) – two of our featured medications. French researchers, publishing in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, have found that both are “significantly associated” with memory disorders:

  • “We used the case/noncase method in the French PharmacoVigilance Database (FPVD). Cases were reports of memory loss in the FPVD between January 2000 and December 2009. Noncases were all other reports during the same period. To assess the association between memory impairment and drug intake, we calculated an odds ratio with its 95% confidence interval.


  • Among the 188,284 adverse drug reactions recorded, we identified 519 cases of memory loss. The sex ratio was 0.6 and the median age was 54 years (range 4-93). The maximal number of cases occurred between 40-49 and 50-59 years. Evolution was favourable in 63% of the cases.


  • We found significant odds ratios for benzodiazepines (alprazolam, bromazepam, prazepam, clonazepam etc.), benzodiazepine-like hypnotics (zolpidem and zopiclone), antidepressants (fluoxetine, paroxetine and venlafaxine) … and isotretinoin”.

“Whilst the researchers noted that there were some limits to their study, they explained that their methods could offer leads for investigating the associations between these medications and adverse reactions:

  • “The case/noncase method allows assessment and detection of associations between exposure to drugs and a specific adverse drug reaction, such as memory disorders, and could thus generate signals and orientate us to further prospective studies to confirm such associations.”

The summary is accessible via PubMed. welcomes patients with lasting side effects from the medications featured on this site. If you’ve experienced memory disorders or other persistent side effects, we’d like to hear from you on our forums.  Share your experience and back scientific investigation into the lasting side effects of these commonly prescribed medications.


By Pete