Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are drugs that act in the brain nerve cells in such a way as to prevent decline of a neurochemical substance, naturally circulating in the brain, called acetylcholine . Acetylcholine is thought to be responsible for cognitive functions, thus, by saving its concentartion, we suspend the decline of memory and other cognitive functions.
The most well-known acetylcholinesterase inhibitors is Donepezil (Aricept), takrine (Cognex) and rivastigmine (Hexelon).
Common side effects are:
- Gastric discomfort
A recent a cholinesterase inhibitor with a dual action (additional effects on Nicotinic Receptors believed to be associated with cognitive functions and memory) is galantamine (Reminyl).
NMDA receptor antagonist
A drug called memantine (Ebixa) often combined with acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. There are studies that show increased cognitive functions with this combination in relation to the exclusive use of one of the two drugs.
CAUTION the anti-dementia medicines use has practical meaning when administered the earliest possible after the disorder gets diagnosed, preferably when dementia is at its light stage. Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment is important to slow down the disease progression.
Frequently, prescribing psychiatric drugs of other categories, such as anxiolytics, antidepressants and antipsychotics in response to mental conditions like anxiety disorders, sleep disturbances, hallucinations and delusional thoughts often encountered in demented patients, is common practice.