Dementia is one of the greatest global challenges for public health; however, the relationship between anticholinergic drugs and dementia remains unclear. The aim of the present study was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of the predictive roles of anticholinergic drugs in dementia risk. After pooling fourteen longitudinal and case-control studies with a total of 1,564,181 subjects, anticholinergic drug use was associated with an increased risk of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Both low and high anticholinergic drug burdens were associated with dementia. Moreover, there was a dose-dependent relationship between anticholinergic drugs and risk of dementia. With respect to the categories of anticholinergic drugs, antiparkinson, urological drugs, and antidepressants increased the risk for dementia; however, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal drugs played potentially protective roles. These findings underscore the importance of anticholinergic drugs as a potential modifiable risk factor for dementia and provide treatment priorities to optimize dementia prevention.
Keywords: Anticholinergic drug; Dementia; Meta-analysis; Risk; Systematic review.
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