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Anticholinergic medication use is associated with globus pharyngeus

  • S Haft (a1) (a2), R M Carey (a1), D Farquhar (a1) (a3) and N Mirza (a1)



Globus pharyngeus has been linked to salivary hypofunction. We hypothesise that a considerable portion of the globus experienced by patients is due to a drying effect secondary to anticholinergic medication use; this study aimed to determine their association.


A cross-sectional study was conducted of 270 patients who presented to a laryngology practice over 6 months. Participants rated globus sensation on a 5-point severity scale, with those scoring 0 considered as controls (non-globus). Participants were excluded if they had a likely cause of globus. Scores were compared with participants’ medication lists, co-morbidities, age and gender, and evaluated using multivariate analysis, with significance set at p < 0.05.


Any participant taking at least 2 anticholinergic medications had a 3.52 increased odds (p = 0.02) of experiencing globus. A previous diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease was also significantly associated with globus (p = 0.004), with an odds ratio of 3.75.


A substantial portion of idiopathic globus may be due to anticholinergic use or reflux. The findings implicate medication use as a risk factor for globus. An awareness of these associations is invaluable for identifying cause and treating globus.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr Ryan M Carey, Department of Otorhinolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery, University of Pennsylvania, 3400 Spruce Street, 5 Ravdin, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA E-mail:


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Presented as a poster at the 94th Annual Meeting of the American Broncho-Esophagological Association, 14–15 May 2014, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.



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