Background: Drugs with anticholinergic properties are known to be associated with deleterious effects on cognition in older adults. There is a paucity of literature in this aspect in older adults with psychiatric disorders.
Objective: To examine the anticholinergic cognitive burden and its predictors in hospitalised older adults having psychiatric disorders.
Methods: Case records of older adults who sought in-patient care under the Geriatric Psychiatry Unit from January 2019 to June 2019 were reviewed. The anticholinergic burden was assessed with Anticholinergic Cognitive Burden (ACB) scale updated version, 2012.
Results: Sample included 129 older adults with an almost equal number of males (53.48%) and females (46.52%) having a mean age of 67.84 (SD = 6.96) years. The diagnostic spectrum included depression (34.89%), dementia (31.01%), mania (10.85%), psychosis (13.95%), delirium (6.20%), and others (3.1%). 60.47% of the patients had more than one medical illness. 48.84% of the older adults had clinically relevant anticholinergic cognitive burden (ACB score ≥ 3). Use of 3 or more psychotropic drugs (OR = 4.88), diagnosis of psychosis/mania (OR = 7.62) and dementia/ delirium (neurocognitive disorders group) (OR = 5.17) increased the risk of ACB score ≥ 3.
Conclusion: Nearly half of the older adults in the psychiatry in-patient setting had a clinically relevant anticholinergic burden, which was associated with higher use of psychotropics. Our study highlights the importance of monitoringanticholinergic effects of psychotropics in older adults.