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Keywords:

  • schizophrenia;
  • prescription patterns;
  • anticholinergic;
  • older patients;
  • Asia

Objective

This study surveyed the use of anticholinergic medications (ACMs) in older Asian patients with schizophrenia and examined its demographic and clinical correlates.

Method

A total of 1452 hospitalized patients with schizophrenia aged 55 years or older in nine Asian countries and territories were surveyed between 2001 and 2009. The cross-sectional data of patients' socio-demographic and clinical characteristics and the prescriptions of antipsychotic drugs and ACM were recorded using a standardized protocol and data collection procedure.

Results

The frequency of ACM prescription was 64.6% in the pooled sample, with 72.4%, 61.9%, and 59.5% in 2001, 2004, and 2009, respectively. Multiple logistic regression analysis of the whole sample revealed that patients on ACM had a higher dose of antipsychotic medications, and were more likely to have extrapyramidal side effects and receive first-generation antipsychotic medications.

Conclusions

Anticholinergic medications were frequently used in older Asian patients with schizophrenia. Considering the potential side effects of ACM, the rationale for their widespread use in this patient population should be revisited. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.