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Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2004 Jan;19(1):27-9.

Effects of discontinuation of long-term anticholinergic treatment in elderly schizophrenia patients.

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  • 1Abarbanel Mental Health Center, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Bat-Yam, Israel.


Anticholinergic medication (ACM) is frequently used in psychiatry to treat the side-effects of D2 blocking agents. However, ACM is not without adverse effects and, in the elderly, cognitive and memory impairments have been emphasized. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of discontinuation of ACM on cognitive functions in a group of elderly chronic schizophrenia patients. Twenty-seven elderly patients (age 60 years or older), who were diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia (DSM-IV) and receiving ACM in addition to antipsychotic treatment, were enrolled. Before and after ACM was discontinued, the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive (ADAS-Cog) subscale was administered. Twenty-one patients completed the study. All were receiving Akineton (biperiden), 2-6 mg daily before the study. Significant improvement in the ADAS-Cog total score was demonstrated (P < 0.03), as well as in the ideational praxia and orientation subscales. Improvement was correlated with the previous dose of biperidin. No adverse events or emergent extrapyramidal symptoms were noted. Discontinuation of ACM may be warranted in chronic schizophrenia patients since it may improve cognitive functioning with no adverse effects.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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