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Kiesel, Esther Katharina; Hopf, Yvonne Marina; Drey, Michael (2018): An anticholinergic burden score for German prescribers: score development. In: BMC Geriatrics 18:239
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Abstract

Background: Anticholinergic drugs put elderly patients at a higher risk for falls, cognitive decline, and delirium as well as peripheral adverse reactions like dry mouth or constipation. Prescribers are often unaware of the drug-based anticholinergic burden (ACB) of their patients. This study aimed to develop an anticholinergic burden score for drugs licensed in Germany to be used by clinicians at prescribing level. Methods: A systematic literature search in pubmed assessed previously published ACB tools. Quantitative grading scores were extracted, reduced to drugs available in Germany, and reevaluated by expert discussion. Drugs were scored as having no, weak, moderate, or strong anticholinergic effects. Further drugs were identified in clinical routine and included as well. Results: The literature search identified 692 different drugs, with 548 drugs available in Germany. After exclusion of drugs due to no systemic effect or scoring of drug combinations (n = 67) and evaluation of 26 additional identified drugs in clinical routine, 504 drugs were scored. Of those, 356 drugs were categorised as having no, 104 drugs were scored as weak, 18 as moderate and 29 as having strong anticholinergic effects. Conclusions: The newly created ACB score for drugs authorized in Germany can be used in daily clinical practice to reduce potentially inappropriate medications for elderly patients. Further clinical studies investigating its effect on reducing anticholinergic side effects are necessary for validation.