Harvard Health Letter

Anticholinergic cognitive burden scale

This scale was developed Dr. Malaz Boustani, a researcher at the Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University Center for Aging Research, and her colleagues.

A drug was given a score of 1 if it had possible anticholinergic effects based on lab tests but no evidence of clinically relevant cognitive effects A drug was given a score of 2 or 3 if it had established and clinically relevant anticholinergic effects. Drugs not listed have a score of 0.

The idea is to add up the scores of the drugs a person is taking. If the sum of the scores is 3 or more, then medications with lower anticholinergic cognitive burden scores might be considered to lower the overall anticholinergic cognitive burden.

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