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Phillips, Amanda; Strobl, Ralf; Grill, Eva and Laux, Gunter (2018): Anticholinergic and sedative medications and the risk of vertigo or dizziness in the German primary care setting-A matched case-control study from the CONTENT registry. In: Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, Vol. 27, No. 8: pp. 912-920

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PURPOSE: To date, there is little information on the utilization of anticholinergic and sedative (AS) medications to vertigo or dizziness (VoD) patients in the German primary care setting. The objective of this study was to evaluate AS medication use and its association with VoD within the German primary care setting. METHODS: Cases with VoD from the CONTENT (CONTinuous morbidity registration Epidemiologic NeTwork) database were 1:1 matched to controls on age, sex, and comorbidities by propensity score matching. AS medication was defined using the fourth level of Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification (ATC) Codes. A prescription of AS medication any time within the study period formed the primary exposure. Multivariable conditional logistic regression examined the association between AS use and VoD. RESULTS: Of a total of N = 151 446 patients, 6971 (4.6) cases and 6971 corresponding controls were analyzed (mean age (sd): 59.9 years (20.9), 64.2 female). Dizziness and giddiness (ICD-10 Code R42) were diagnosed most prominently (87.2). AS medication was prescribed on 1072 of 10 552 (10.2) consultation days with VoD diagnoses. After adjusting for covariates, AS use was significantly and independently associated with VoD, adjusted odds ratio (1.37; 95 CI: 1.18-1.58), compared with no AS use. CONCLUSION: Primary care practitioners should consider AS medication as a risk factor for VoD and avoid prescribing AS medications after a VoD diagnosis. Caution should also be taken when prescribing AS medications to older adults (>/=65 years). Systematical calculations of AS medication burden for patients could help acknowledge this issue and raise awareness for prescription habits in primary care.

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