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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Anticholinergics for symptomatic management of Parkinson´s disease

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, July 2002
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Anticholinergics for symptomatic management of Parkinson´s disease
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, July 2002
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd003735
Pubmed ID

Regina Katzenschlager, Cristina Sampaio, João Costa, Andrew Lees


Anticholinergics were the first drugs available for the symptomatic treatment of Parkinson's disease and they are still widely used today, both as monotherapy and as part of combination regimes. They are commonly believed to be associated with a less favourable side effect profile than other antiparkinsonian drugs, in particular with respect to neuropsychiatric and cognitive adverse events. They have been claimed to exert a better effect on tremor than on other parkinsonian features. To determine the efficacy and tolerability of anticholinergics in the symptomatic treatment of Parkinson's disease compared to placebo or no treatment. The literature search included electronic searches of the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register (The Cochrane Library, Issue 4, 2001), MEDLINE (1966 to 2001), Old Medline (1960-1965), Index Medicus (1927 - 1959), as well as handsearching the neurology literature including the reference lists of identified articles, other reviews and book chapters. Randomised controlled trials of anticholinergic drugs versus placebo or no treatment in de-novo or advanced Parkinson's disease, either as monotherapy or as an add-on to other antiparkinsonian drugs were included. Trials of anticholinergic drugs that were never in general clinical use were excluded. Data was abstracted independently by two authors. Differences were settled by discussion among all authors. Data collected included patient characteristics, disease duration and severity, concomitant medication, interventions including duration and dose of anticholinergic treatment, outcome measures, rates of and reasons for withdrawals, and neuropsychiatric and cognitive adverse events. The initial search yielded 14 potentially eligible studies, five of which were subsequently excluded. In three cases this was because they dealt with substances that had never been marketed or had not been licensed for as far as could be traced back. One trial had been published twice in different languages. One study was excluded based on the assessment of its methodological quality. The remaining nine studies were all of double-blind cross-over design and included 221 patients. Trial duration was between five and 20 weeks and drugs investigated were benzhexol (mean doses: 8 to 20 mg/d), orphenadrine (mean dose not reported), benztropine (mean dose not reported), bornaprine (8 to 8.25 mg/d), benapryzine (200 mg/d), and methixine (45 mg/d). Only one study involved two anticholinergic drugs. Outcome measures varied widely across studies and in many cases, the scales applied were the authors' own and were not defined in detail. Incomplete reporting of methodology and results was frequent. The heterogeneous study designs as well as incomplete reporting precluded combined statistical analysis. Five studies used both tremor and other parkinsonian features as outcome measures. Outcome measures in these five studies were too different for a combined analysis and results varied widely, from a significant improvement in tremor only to significant improvement in other features but not in tremor. All studies except one (dealing with methixine) found a significant improvement from baseline on the anticholinergic drug in at least one outcome measure. The difference between placebo and active drug was reported in four studies and was found to be significant in all cases. No study failed to show superiority of the anticholinergic over placebo. The occurrence of neuropsychiatric and cognitive adverse events was reported in all but three studies (in 35 patients on active drug versus 13 on placebo). The most frequently reported reason for drop-outs from studies was in patients on placebo due to withdrawal from pre-trial anticholinergic treatment. As monotherapy or as an adjunct to other antiparkinsonian drugs, anticholinergics are more effective than placebo in improving motor function in Parkinson's disease. Neuropsychiatric and cognitive adverse events occur more frequently on anticholinergics than on placebo and are a more common reason for withdrawal than lack of efficacy. Results regarding a potentially better effect of the anticholinergic drug on tremor than on other outcome measures are conflicting and data do not strongly support a differential clinical effect on individual parkinsonian features. Data is insufficient to allow comparisons in efficacy or tolerability between individual anticholinergic drugs.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 302 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Brazil 2 <1%
United States 2 <1%
Canada 2 <1%
South Africa 1 <1%
Australia 1 <1%
United Kingdom 1 <1%
Unknown 293 97%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Bachelor 53 18%
Student > Ph. D. Student 41 14%
Student > Master 41 14%
Researcher 29 10%
Other 19 6%
Other 46 15%
Unknown 73 24%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 81 27%
Neuroscience 33 11%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 21 7%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 18 6%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 17 6%
Other 46 15%
Unknown 86 28%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 3. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 10 July 2021.
All research outputs
of 22,914,829 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 12,335 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 44,390 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 34 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 22,914,829 research outputs across all sources so far. This one is in the 44th percentile – i.e., 44% of other outputs scored the same or lower than it.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,335 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 30.5. This one is in the 21st percentile – i.e., 21% of its peers scored the same or lower than it.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 44,390 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one is in the 11th percentile – i.e., 11% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.
We're also able to compare this research output to 34 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 23rd percentile – i.e., 23% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.