Anticholinergic therapy for bronchiectasis

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2001;(4):CD002163. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD002163.


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.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Bronchiectasis / drug therapy*
  • Cholinergic Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Humans


  • Cholinergic Antagonists