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Alcohol Alcohol. 2005 Mar-Apr;40(2):151-4. Epub 2004 Dec 13.

Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors for the treatment of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome--three further cases show response to donepezil.

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Parkhead Hospital, 81 Salamanca Street, Glasgow, G31 5ES, UK.


Three patients diagnosed with Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome were treated with the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, donepezil, for periods of 6 to 8 months. Cognitive testing [Alzheimer's disease assessment scale-cognitive subscale (ADAS-Cog), Mini-mental state examination (MMSE), Clock drawing test and six item 2 min recall] and carer questionnaires [Informant Questionnaire (IQ Code), Neuropsychiatric inventory scale (NPI)] were performed at baseline, mid- and endpoint of the treatment period and post-discontinuation. Progressive partial improvement occurred in cognitive measurements through the treatment period, some of which was sustained after discontinuing donepezil. Carer questionnaires also indicated improvement. Confounding factors necessitate caution when attributing improvements to the medication, but these cases suggest that this option merits further investigation.

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