Principal Investigators

    Dr George Savva


    University of East Anglia

    Contact information of lead PI


    United Kingdom

    Title of project or programme

    ABCD study: Anticholinergics, Benzodiazepines, Cognition and Dementia

    Source of funding information

    Alzheimer's Society

    Total sum awarded (Euro)

    € 431,453

    Start date of award


    Total duration of award in years


    The project/programme is most relevant to:

    Alzheimer's disease & other dementias


    Research Abstract

    Background and aims: Anticholinergic medications (AChl) and benzodiazepines including Z-drugs (BZD) are commonly used by older people. AChl and BZD impair cognition while they are being used. We will establish whether there is an associated increase in the risk of dementia and whether cognitive impairment persists beyond medication cessation.
    Objectives and Methods: We will use data on medication use and cognitive function/dementia from five souces, the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, the Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Ageing Study (MRC CFAS) 1, MRC CFAS 2, The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing and the MRC CFAS neuropathology study. These studies have different strengths and we will use them to estimate:
    whether AChl/BZD use increases dementia risk, and how this depends on the level of use
    how long any excess risk persists after cessation
    whether the risk is restricted to a subgroup of anticholinergic medications, and whether z-drugs differ from benzodiazepines in dementia risk.
    how memory and non-memory cognitive domains are affected by duration of current medication use
    whether impaired cognition persists, returns to pre-medication levels or continues to decline following medication cessation and how this depends on duration and level of use
    neuropathological correlates of AChl/BZD use.

    Outcomes: Our findings will contribute to prescribing guidance and practice for management of many common long term conditions. If our findings support an effect of AChl/BZD on dementia, then the benefits and harms of reduction or avoidance of such medication use should be tested as an intervention to reduce dementia incidence.

    Lay Summary

    Further information available at:

Types: Investments > €500k
Member States: United Kingdom
Diseases: Alzheimer's disease & other dementias
Years: 2016
Database Categories: N/A
Database Tags: N/A

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