- The International Anticholinergic Cognitive Burden Tool (IACT) employs natural language processing and chemical structure analysis to identify particular medications that have anticholinergic effects.
- The scoring technique is more accurate than any other since it closely mimics the drug’s chemical makeup and analyzes the anticholinergic load by computing a score based on reported side effects.
- When the study is over, this tool might help reduce the risks connected with commonly used pharmaceuticals.
A team of researchers has created a new tool to determine which medications are more likely to have negative anticholinergic effects on the body and brain. Many prescription and over-the-counter medications that affect the brain by inhibiting the neurotransmitter acetylcholine can result in such side effects.
Numerous different medication kinds have some sort of anticholinergic action. The study was published in Age and Ageing.
How did they develop the IACT tool?
“A newly created online tool—International Anticholinergic Cognitive Burden Tool (IACT)—based on natural language processing and chemical structure analysis. It was developed and made available for clinicians to test its functions. We carried out a survey (between 8th of February and 31st of March 2021) to assess the overall need for an assessment tool and the usability of the IACT,” stated the authors in their research paper.
Confusion, blurred vision, dizziness, and a reduction in brain function are a few possible anticholinergic side effects. These adverse effects have been connected to an increased incidence of dementia and can raise the chance of falls.
The researchers’ AI-based technology can calculate the negative consequences of medications. The online tool, the International Anticholinergic Cognitive Burden Tool (IACT), uses chemical structure analysis and natural language processing to recognize specific drugs with anticholinergic side effects.
It is the first tool that uses machine learning technology and updates itself automatically on a website portal. It closely resembles the chemical composition of the medicine. It evaluates the anticholinergic load by calculating a score based on reported adverse events, resulting in a scoring system that is more precise than any others. When the study is complete, this kind of tool might assist in lowering hazards associated with widely used medications.
One of the study’s authors is Professor Chris Fox of the University of Exeter.
“Use of medicines with anticholinergic effects can have significant harmful effects, for example, falls and confusion which are avoidable. We urgently need to reduce the harmful side effects as this can lead to hospitalization and death. This new tool provides a promising avenue towards a more tailored personalized medicine approach, of ensuring the right person gets safe and effective treatment whilst avoiding unwanted anticholinergic effects,” explained Prof. Fox
85% of the 110 healthcare professionals polled by the team said they would utilize a tool to gauge the possibility of adverse anticholinergic side effects if one were made available.
Another author was Dr. Saber Sami from the University of East Anglia.
“Our tool is the first to use innovative artificial intelligence technology in measures of anticholinergic burden — ultimately, once further research has been conducted, the tool should support pharmacists and prescribing health professionals in finding the best treatment for patients,” stated Dr. Sami.
Professor Ian Maidment, an Aston University professor, also contributed to the study.
“I have been working in this area for over 20 years. Anticholinergic side-effects can be very debilitating for patients. We need better ways to assess these side-effects,” said Prof. Maidment.