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Potential benefits of reducing medication-related anticholinergic burden for demented older adults: a prospective cohort study


Yeh, Yen-Chi, Liu, Chien-Liang, Peng, Li-Ning, Lin, Ming-Hsien, Chen, Liang-Kung


Geriatrics & Gerontology International, Volume: 13, No.: 3, Pages.: 694-700

Year of Publication



Aim: Medication-related anticholinergic burden is a quality indicator for geriatric pharmacotherapy; however, little is known regarding the benefits of reducing anticholinergic burden for demented patients; Methods: Demented residents in a Veteran Home were enrolled for this study and an educational program was held for primary care physicians providing services at the Veterans Home. Residents were assigned to the intervention group if the primary care team could adhere to the research protocol and the remaining residents were assigned to the reference group receiving conventional care. Anticholinergic burden was estimated by Clinician-Rated Anticholinergic Score (CR-ACHS). Healthcare outcomes; for example, hospitalizations, mortality, cognitive and physical function, were compared between groups.; Results: Overall, 53 of the 67 demented residents (mean age 83.4 ± 4.4 years) completed this study. Anticholinergic exposure was found in 38 participants (56.7%) at baseline, in which antipsychotics (n=29, 76.3%) and antidepressants (n=19, 50%) were the most common agents. Compared with participants in the reference group, CR-ACHS was significantly reduced in the intervention group at 12-week follow up (intervention group vs reference group=0.5 ± 1.1 vs 1.1 ± 1.3, P=0.021), whereas the mean Mini-Mental State Examination and Barthel Index were similar between groups. In contrast, no clinical complication was observed regarding medication adjustments during the study period.; Conclusions: Anticholinergic burden can be successfully and safely reduced through an educational program for primary care physicians, but the benefit of reducing anticholinergic burden remained unclear within the first 12 weeks. Further investigation is required to evaluate the long-term benefits of reducing anticholinergic burden for demented older adults.; © 2012 Japan Geriatrics Society.

Bibtex Citation

@article{Yeh_2012, doi = {10.1111/ggi.12000}, url = {}, year = 2012, month = {dec}, publisher = {Wiley-Blackwell}, volume = {13}, number = {3}, pages = {694--700}, author = {Yen-Chi Yeh and Chien-Liang Liu and Li-Ning Peng and Ming-Hsien Lin and Liang-Kung Chen}, title = {Potential benefits of reducing medication-related anticholinergic burden for demented older adults: A prospective cohort study}, journal = {Geriatrics {&} Gerontology International} }


adverse effects, aged, 80 and over, anticholinergic effect, behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, chemically induced, cholinergic antagonists, cognition, cognition disorders, cognitive function, dementia, diagnosis, drug effects, drug therapy, epidemiology, female, humans, incidence, male, neuropsychological tests, physical function, physiopathology, prospective studies, risk factors, taiwan, therapeutic use, veterans

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Dementia (general / unspecified)

Types of Study

Non randomised controlled trial

Type of Outcomes

ADLs/IADLs, Cognition, Service use or cost reductions (incl. hospital use reduction, care home admission delay)


Nursing Homes

Type of Interventions

Pharmaceutical Interventions, Workforce oriented interventions

Pharmaceutical Interventions

Anti-Alzheimer medications, e.g.: donezepil, galantamine, rivastigmine, memantime, Antipsychotics and antidepressants

Workforce Interventions

Professional Training / Continuing Professional Development