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Cholinesterase inhibitors

Other names: acetylcholinesterase inhibitors

What are Cholinesterase inhibitors?

Cholinesterase inhibitors (also called acetylcholinesterase inhibitors) are a group of medicines that block the normal breakdown of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is the main neurotransmitter found in the body and has functions in both the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system. For example, acetylcholine is released by motor neurons to activate muscles; acetylcholine also has an important role in arousal, attention, learning, memory and motivation.

Cholinesterase inhibitors block the action of the enzyme cholinesterase, which is responsible for breaking down acetylcholine. This increases levels of acetylcholine in the synaptic cleft (the space between two nerve endings).

The main use of cholinesterase inhibitors is for the treatment of dementia in patients with Alzheimer's disease. People with Alzheimer's disease have reduced levels of acetylcholine in the brain. Cholinesterase inhibitors have been shown to have a modest effect on dementia symptoms such as cognition.

Cholinesterase inhibitors tend to cause side effects such as vasodilation, constriction of the pupils in the eyes, increased secretion of sweat, saliva and tears, slow heart rate, mucus secretion in the respiratory tract and constriction of the airways.

List of Cholinesterase inhibitors

View by  Brand | Generic
Drug Name Avg. Rating Reviews
Aricept (Pro)
Generic name: donepezil
37 reviews
Exelon (Pro)
Generic name: rivastigmine
15 reviews
Namzaric (Pro)
Generic name: donepezil / memantine
6 reviews
Aricept ODT
Generic name: donepezil
3 reviews
Razadyne ER
Generic name: galantamine
2 reviews
Generic name: galantamine
No reviews
Razadyne (Pro)
Generic name: galantamine
No reviews
Generic name: tacrine
No reviews
Adlarity (Pro)
Generic name: donepezil
No reviews
For ratings, users were asked how effective they found the medicine while considering positive/adverse effects and ease of use (1 = not effective, 10 = most effective).

See also

Medical conditions associated with cholinesterase inhibitors:

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.