BACKGROUND: No studies to date have investigated cumulative anticholinergic exposure and its effects in adults with intellectual disabilities.
AIMS: To determine the cumulative exposure to anticholinergics and the factors associated with high exposure.
METHOD: A modified Anticholinergic Cognitive Burden (ACB) scale score was calculated for a representative cohort of 736 people over 40 years old with intellectual disabilities, and associations with demographic and clinical factors assessed.
RESULTS: Age over 65 years was associated with higher exposure (ACB 1-4 odds ratio (OR) = 3.28, 95% CI 1.49-7.28, ACB 5+ OR = 3.08, 95% CI 1.20-7.63), as was a mental health condition (ACB 1-4 OR = 9.79, 95% CI 5.63-17.02, ACB 5+ OR = 23.74, 95% CI 12.29-45.83). Daytime drowsiness was associated with higher ACB (P<0.001) and chronic constipation reported more frequently (26.6% ACB 5+ v. 7.5% ACB 0, P<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Older people with intellectual disabilities and with mental health conditions were exposed to high anticholinergic burden. This was associated with daytime dozing and constipation.