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Anticholinergic effect on cognition (AEC) of drugs commonly used in older people

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Delia Bishara, Daniel Harwood, Justin Sauer, David M. Taylor

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Early online date9 Jun 2016
Accepted/In press19 Apr 2016
E-pub ahead of print9 Jun 2016


King's Authors


Objective: Use of anticholinergic drugs in older people is associated with increased risk of cognitive decline and of dementia and death. Method: We identified drugs widely used in older people and attempted to classify their anticholinergic effect on cognition (AEC) according to our three-point scale which scored AEC according to in vitro anticholinergic potency, capacity to cross the blood-brain barrier and statements made in standard texts. Results: In total, 165 drugs were examined. We identified 21 drugs with an AEC score of 3, 18 with a score of 2, 21 with a score of 1 and 62 with a score of 0. Owing to insufficient information, we were unable to classify 43 drugs. Conclusions: A large number of drugs commonly used in older people are likely to be associated with cognitive impairment.

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