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Cholinesterase Inhibitors – Aricept

Did you know?

Cholinesterase inhibitors do not appear to benefit individuals with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), since this disease affects the brain in a different way from Alzheimer's disease and Lewy body dementia.

Cholinesterase inhibitors are a group of drugs commonly prescribed to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in order to slow the disease. For individuals with dementia, brain function decreases in part because their brain cells are no longer able to communicate with one another as well as previously. Cholinesterase inhibitors act to increase levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, a chemical that helps brain cells communicate and work better. A person taking one of these medications may be better able to remember names and details or perform activities with fewer problems.

There are 3 main cholinesterase inhibitors on the market:

  • Aricept® (generic name: donepezil)
  • Razadyne®, formerly known as Reminyl (generic name: galantamine)
  • Exelon® (generic name: rivastigmine)

Cognex® (generic name: tacrine) is a cholinesterase inhibitor no longer commonly prescribed due to serious side effects.

These medications are typically prescribed to individuals in the early to middle stages of dementia. Aricept® was recently approved to treat severe dementia as well. It is important to remember that these medications only slow the progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease – they do not stop or reverse their course. These medications typically help for only months to a few years and may not work as well once the disease progresses.

In general, individuals who use cholinesterase inhibitors experience few side effects. The most commonly-experienced side effects are gastrointestinal problems, such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

Resources

Trio of Drugs May Improve Alzheimer's

Source: WebMD Medical News
Description: This article discusses the three of the cholinesterase inhibitors that may improve symptoms of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease, (Aricept®, Razadyne®, and Exelon®) with sections describing how the drugs work, and small improvements seen from all three drugs.

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Drugs in Clinical Trials: Rivastigmine Tartrate (Exelon®)

Source: Alzheimer's Research Forum
Description: This page provides basic information on rivastigmine (Exelon®) and discusses evidence for its efficacy.

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Drugs in Clinical Trials: Galantamine (Reminyl/Razadyne®)

Source: Alzheimer's Research Forum
Description: This page provides basic drug information on galantamine (Reminyl/Razadyne®) and discusses evidence for its efficacy.

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Drugs in Clinical Trials: Donepezil (Aricept®)

Source: Alzheimer's Research Forum
Description: This web page provides a the basic drug information on donepezil (Aricept®), its success in clinical trials, and news about the drug.

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Fact Sheet: FDA-Approved Cholinesterase Inhibitors

Source: Alzheimer's Association
Description: This 3-page fact sheet provides an in-depth look at how cholinesterase inhibitors work, their risks and benefits, and other details.

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Cognex® Prescribing Information

Source: Sciele Pharma, Inc.
Description: This is the manufacturer's prescribing information for the cholinesterase inhibitor Cognex® (tacrine hydrochloride).

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Razadyne ER® Official Website

Source: Ortho-McNeil Neurologics, Inc.
Description: This is the pharmaceutical website for the extended release form (ER) of the cholinesterase inhibitor Razadyne (galantamine HBr). It includes information on how Razadyne ER works, dosing information and what to expect when taking Razadyne ER. It includes answers to frequently-asked questions and a section on the difference between Razadyne and Razadyne ER.

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