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Reduction of the Anticholinergic Burden Makes It Possible to Decrease Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia.

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Jaïdi Y1, Nonnonhou V2, Kanagaratnam L3, Bertholon LA2, Badr S2, Noël V2, Novella JL4, Mahmoudi R4.



The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a reduction of the anticholinergic burden (AB) on the frequency and severity of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) and their repercussions on the care team (occupational disruptiveness).


In this prospective, single-center study in an acute care unit for Alzheimer disease (AD) and related disorders, 125 elderly subjects (mean age: 84.4 years) with dementia presented with BPSD. The reduction of the AB was evaluated by the Anticholinergic Cognitive Burden Scale. BPSD were evaluated with the Neuropsychiatric Inventory-Nursing Home Version (NPI-NH). The effect of the reduction of the AB on the BPSD was studied using logistic regression adjusting for the variables of the comprehensive geriatric assessment.


Seventy-one subjects (56.8%) presenting with probable AD, 32 (25.6%) mixed dementia (AD and vascular), 17 (13.6%) vascular dementia, and 5 (4.0%) Lewy body dementia were included. Reducing the AB by at least 20% enabled a significant decrease in the frequency × severity scores of the NPI-NH (adjusted odds ratio: 3.5; 95% confidence interval: 1.6-7.9) and of the occupational disruptiveness score (adjusted odds ratio: 9.9; 95% confidence interval: 3.6-27.3).


AB reduction in elderly subjects with dementia makes is possible to reduce BPSD and caregiver burden. Recourse to treatments involving an AB must be avoided as much as possible in these patients, and preferential use of nonpharmacologic treatment management plans is encouraged.

Resource: Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2018 Mar;26(3):280-288.