Drugs with anticholinergic side-effects in primary care
Background: Anticholinergic drugs in elderly people have been associated with some serious side.effects. Patients in Turkey tend to attend primary care centers to have prescriptions of the drugs they chronically use. However, very little are known about how frequent that these drugs are prescribed and their side-effects in Turkish population. We aimed to investigate the usage and side.effects of drugs with anticholinergic properties in patients over 65 years of age attending to primary care centers.
Materials and Methods: Five hundred and sixty.three subjects were interviewed with a questionnaire of 16 questions inquiring their medication and possible side.effects. Timed up and go test (TUGT) and standardized mini.mental test (SMMT) were also performed.
Results: Medical records of 563 individuals were screened to detect anticholinergic medication. Twenty.eight patients were using anticholinergic medication. Mean duration of anticholinergic medication usage was 3.17 years. Mean number of falls occurred in the previous year was 1.14 « 1.17. Mean SMMT score was 27.20 « 1.13. Mean TUGT scores mean was 12.4 « 1.25. Drowsiness in 18 patients (65%), dry mouth in 15 patients (53%), dry eyes in 15 patients (53%), constipation in 11 patients (39%), blurred vision in 11 patients (%39), urinary hesitancy in eight patients (28%), confusion in six patients (21%) were reported. We found that none of the subjects were evaluated in terms of fall risk or mental status by their doctors before the prescription of drugs with anticholinergic effects.
Conclusions: A suggested approach to improve drug safety was reported as to reduce the use of anticholinergic drugs when it is possible. Psychiatrists and family physicians should select less anticholinergic drugs for medication and have to evaluate their patientsf fall risk and their cognitive status before prescribing drugs with anticholinergic side effects.
Key words: Anticholinergic side effects, cognitive status, fall risk, primary care