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Anticholinergics in Patients with Dementia Linked with Decreased Physical Quality of Life


Annals of Long-Term Care: Clinical Care and Aging. 2015;23(5):36


Jolynn Tumolo

In older adults with dementia, anticholinergic drugs were associated with lower scores on a quality-of-life scale that measured physical health. “The study findings suggest the need for carefully monitoring the health status of elderly patients when prescribing anticholinergic agents in this vulnerable population,” wrote Sneha D. Sura, Department of Pharmaceutical Health Outcomes and Policy, College of Pharmacy, University of Houston, Houston, TX, and colleagues, who carried out the study.

The retrospective, longitudinal study investigated the effects of anticholinergic medications on the health-related quality of life of 112 participants with dementia.

Of the 15% of study participants who used antocholinergics, most were 65–79 years old, female, and with low family income. The researchers found that, after controlling for baseline quality of life and other factors, use of anticholinergics was linked with 7.48 unit reductions in Physical Component Scores. Researchers found no association between anticholinergic use and Mental Component Score.

The researchers published their findings in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association (

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