The effectiveness of a multidisciplinary frailty team in reducing anticholinergic burden in frail older patients: A quantitative service evaluation

Victoria Neilson, Shea Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Increasing evidence suggests drugs known to have anticholinergic properties are an important safety concern in frail older patients and are known to cause cognitive and physical impairment.1,2,3 Prevalent medications such as antimuscarinics, psychotropic drugs and antihistamines amongst others have been demonstrated to possess anticholinergic activity.4 These drugs are commonly used for conditions such as urinary incontinence, behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia and vertigo.

Anticholinergic agents block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the peripheral and central nervous systems, resulting in inhibition of parasympathetic nerve impulses causing delirium, constipation, dry mouth and agitation.5 Although useful in conditions such as those highlighted above, adverse outcomes such as falls, cognitive decline, delirium and increased mortality are frequently overlooked and underestimated by prescribers.6 Unwanted anticholinergic activity is often referred to as ‘burden’ and interventions to reduce this burden may provide benefit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)943-947
Number of pages5
JournalGeriatric Nursing
Volume42
Issue number4
Early online date12 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Geriatric Nursing. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Geriatric Nursing, 42:4, (2021) DOI: 10.1016/j.gerinurse.2021.04.029

© 2021, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology

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