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Drugs Aging. 2004;21(14):931-7.

Rivastigmine in frontotemporal dementia: an open-label study.

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Dipartimento di Fisiologia e Patologia, Università di Trieste, Triste, Italy.



This preliminary open-label study aims to investigate the effects of rivastigmine, an inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE), in 20 patients diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD).


Study subjects were men and women 60-75 years of age diagnosed with probable FTD. The rivastigmine group received doses of 3-9 mg/day. The control group included matched patients receiving antipsychotics, benzodiazepines and selegiline (deprenyl). All patients completed a 12-month follow-up period.


Rivastigmine treatment was well tolerated. At 12 months, there was a general amelioration of behavioural changes as demonstrated by reductions in Neuropsychiatric Inventory (p<0.001 vs baseline and control), Behavioral Pathology in Alzheimer's Disease Rating Scale (p<0.001 vs baseline and control) and Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia scores (p<0.05 vs baseline, p<0.001 vs control) in the rivastigmine group. Caregiver burden was reduced, as shown by reduced Relative Stress Scale scores (p<0.001 vs baseline and control). Mean scores on outcome measures evaluating executive function stabilised in the rivastigmine group (p<0.05 vs controls). Rivastigmine did not prevent the disease-related deterioration of cognition as assessed using the Mini-Mental State Examination.


In this open-label study, rivastigmine-treated patients were less behaviourally impaired, and caregiver burden was reduced, at 12 months, compared with baseline. The use of cholinesterase inhibitors in FTD warrants further research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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