Article Text

Download PDFPDF
PS-019 Concomitant use of drugs with anticholinergic effects and acetylcholinesterase inhibitors in elderly people with cognitive impairment in a nursing home
  1. A Escolano Pueyo,
  2. P Casajús Lagranja,
  3. R Arrieta Navarro,
  4. C Pérez Diez,
  5. M Uriarte Pinto,
  6. R Abad Sazatornil
  1. Universitary Hospital Miguel Servet, Pharmacy, Zaragoza, Spain


Background Evidence suggests that medications with anticholinergic properties are frequently used in the elderly population, and these medications are associated with significant adverse effects and may lead to worsening of cognitive impairment. Concomitant use of drugs with anticholinergic properties and acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs) may further impair cognition in patients with dementia.

Purpose To assess the use of drugs with anticholinergic properties in elderly nursing home patients treated with AChEIs.

Material and methods Observational and retrospective study of elderly patients with dementia treated with AChEIs residing in a nursing home in September 2015. Anticholinergic risk assessment was determined using the Anticholinergic Risk Scale (ARS). Data were obtained from pharmaceutical the managing program Farmatools.

Results 178 patients, 59.0% women. Mean age 85.6 ± 9.6 years (54–104). Mean prescribed drugs 9.4 ± 3.6 (2–20). According to ARS, 116 patients (65.2%) were taking at least one drug with anticholinergic properties.

From the whole group of patients, 32 patients (18%) with dementia were treated with AChEIs: 81.3% women, mean age 84.2 ± 7.3 years (71–101), mean prescribed drugs 8.4 ± 3.44 (3–17). 11 patients (34.3%) were taking rivastigmine, 11 (34.3%) donepezile, 7 (21.9%) memantine and 3 (9.5%) galantamine as AChEIs.

According to ARS, 21 patients (65.6%) were taking at least one drug with anticholinergic properties (rank 1–4), 41 drugs whole. Grade 1 risk: quetiapine 10 patients (24.5%), risperidone 9 (21.9%), trazodone 8 (19.5%), haloperidol 7 (17.2%), mirtazapine 3 (7.3%) and metoclopramide 1 (2.4%). Grade 2 risk: baclofen and tolterodine 1 patient each (2.4%). Grade 3 risk: butilescopolamine 1 patient (2.4%).

Average extent of anticholinergic exposure in all dementia patients: 1.41 ± 1.31 (0–4).

Conclusion A high percentage of elderly nursing home patients treated with AChEIs are taking drugs with anticholinergic properties.

The use of anticholinergic drugs may result in an increase in cognitive impairment, so the study findings suggest the need to consider alternatives with lower anticholinergic effects and promote evaluations of practices intended to improve care standards.

No conflict of interest.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.