Background: Anticholinergic agents block bronchoconstriction mediated by the vagus nerve and may also dry up bronchial secretions. They are effective in obstructive airways disease and may be beneficial in bronchiectasis
Objectives: To determine the effect of anticholinergic therapy in acute exacerbations and stable bronchiectasis.
Search strategy: The Cochrane Airways Group clinical trials register was searched using the terms bronchiectasis AND anticholinergic OR ipratropium bromide OR tiotropium OR atropine.
Selection criteria: Only randomised controlled trials were considered.
Data collection and analysis: Two reviewers assessed the retrieved studies working independently.
Main results: Twelve studies were identified, of which six were obtained for further scrutiny. One was translated from Italian. None met the inclusion criteria.
Reviewer's conclusions: No formal recommendations can be made about the use of anticholinergic therapy in acute or stable bronchiectasis based on the literature currently available.