The impact of anticholinergic burden in Alzheimer's dementia-the laser-AD study

Chris Fox, Gill Livingston, Ian D. Maidment, Simon Coulton, David G. Smithard, Malaz Boustani, Cornelius Katona

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the effect of medications with anticholinergic effects on cognitive impairment and deterioration in Alzheimer's dementia (AD). Methods: cognitive function was measured at baseline and at 6- and 18-month follow-up using the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE), the Severe Impairment Battery (SIB) and the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Battery, Cognitive subsection (ADAS-COG) in a cohort study of 224 participants with AD. Baseline anticholinergic Burden score (ABS) was measured using the Anticholinergic Burden scale and included all prescribed and over the counter medication. Results: the sample was 224 patients with Alzheimer's dementia and 71.4% were women. Their mean age was 81.0 years [SD 7.4 (range 55-98)]. The mean number of medications taken was 3.6 (SD 2.4) and the mean anticholinergic load was 1.1 (SD 1.4, range 0-7). The total number of drugs taken and anticholinergic load correlated (rho = 0.44; P < 0.01). There were no differences in MMSE and other cognitive functioning at either 6 or 18 months after adjusting for baseline cognitive function, age, gender and use of cholinesterase inhibitors between those with, and those without high anticholinergenic load. Conclusions: medications with anticholinergic effect in patients with AD were not found to effect deterioration in cognition over the subsequent 18 months. Our study did not support a continuing effect of these medications on people with AD who are established on them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberafr102
Pages (from-to)730-735
Number of pages6
JournalAge and Ageing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Cognitive impairment
  • Dementia and anticholinergic burden
  • Elderly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of anticholinergic burden in Alzheimer's dementia-the laser-AD study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this