Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors for Delirium in Older Adults

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Abstract

Objectives:

The aim of this systematic review is to identify published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that evaluated the use of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors for delirium in older adults (≥60 years).

Methods:

A literature search was conducted of PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and Cochrane collaboration databases for RCTs in any language that evaluated the use of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors for delirium in older adults (≥60 years). Also, bibliographic databases of the published articles were searched for additional studies.

Results:

A total of 7 RCTs that evaluated the use of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors for delirium in older adults (≥60 years) were identified. In 5 of the 7 studies, there was no benefit for the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor in either the prevention or the management of delirium. In one study, there was a trend toward benefit for the active drug group on the incidence of delirium and the length of hospital stay, but both outcomes did not attain statistical significance. One study found a longer duration of delirium and a longer length of hospital stay in the active drug group when compared to the placebo group. The acetylcholinesterase inhibitors were well tolerated in 4 of the 7 studies. In 1 study, the mortality rate was found to be almost 3 times higher in the group receiving haloperidol and rivastigmine when compared to the group receiving haloperidol and placebo.

Conclusion:

Current evidence does not suggest efficacy of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors for the prevention or management of delirium in older adults.

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