A new tool calculates which medicines are more likely to cause adverse anticholinergic effects, according to work by a team led by the University of Exeter.
“Use of medicines with anticholinergic effects can have significant harmful effects, for example falls and confusion, which are avoidable, we urgently need to reduce the harmful side effects as this can leads to hospitalization and death,” said Chris Fox, at the University of Exeter, and one of the study authors. “This new tool provides a promising avenue towards a more tailored personalized medicine approach, of ensuring the right person gets a safe and effective treatment whilst avoiding unwanted anticholinergic effects.”
Such complications can occur from many prescription and over-the-counter drugs that affect the brain by blocking the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. These medicines include some for bladder disorders, depression, stomach ailments, and Parkinson’s disease. They are most commonly taken by older people.