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Anticholinergic Effects of Medication in Elderly Patients

Larry E. Tune, MD

Published: January 7, 2001

Article Abstract

Anticholinergic toxicity is a common problem in the elderly. It has many effects ranging from drymouth, constipation, and visual impairments to confusion, delirium, and severe cognitive decline. Thetoxicity is often the result of the cumulative anticholinergic burden of multiple prescription medicationsand metabolites rather than of a single compound. The management of elderly patients, particularlythose suffering from dementia, should therefore aim to reduce the use of medications with anticholinergiceffects.

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