Quality of anticholinergic burden scales and their impact on clinical outcomes: a systematic review
- Review Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Purpose Older people are at risk of anticholinergic side effects due to changes affecting drug elimination and higher sensitivity to drug’s side effects. Anticholinergic burden scales (ABS) were developed to quantify the anticholinergic drug burden (ADB). We aim to identify all published ABS, to compare them systematically and to evaluate their associations with clinical outcomes. Methods We conducted a literature search in MEDLINE and EMBASE to identify all published ABS and a Web of Science citation (WoS) analysis to track validation studies implying clinical outcomes. Quality of the ABS was assessed using an adapted AGREE II tool. For the validation studies, we used the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale and the Cochrane tool Rob2.0. The validation studies were categorized into six evidence levels based on the propositions of the Oxford Center for Evidence-Based Medicine with respect to their quality. At least two researchers independently performed screening and quality assessments. Results Out of 1297 records, we identified 19 ABS and 104 validations studies. Despite differences in quality, all ABS were recommended for use. The anticholinergic cognitive burden (ACB) scale and the German anticholinergic burden scale (GABS) achieved the highest percentage in quality. Most ABS are validated, yet validation studies for newer scales are lacking. Only two studies compared eight ABS simultaneously. The four most investigated clinical outcomes delirium, cognition, mortality and falls showed contradicting results. Conclusion There is need for good quality validation studies comparing multiple scales to define the best scale and to conduct a meta-analysis for the assessment of their clinical impact. Show more
Journal / seriesEuropean Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Pages / Article No.
SubjectCumulative anticholinergic burden; Clinical outcomes; Older people; Quality assessment; Validation
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