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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2007 May;8(7):1011-23.

Donepezil: an update.

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  • 1V.A. Boston Healthcare System, Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Geriatric Research Center, Boston, MA 02130, USA.


Donepezil hydrochloride is the most widely prescribed drug for Alzheimer's disease (AD). The main mechanism of action through which it influences cognition and function is presumed to be the inhibition of acetylcholinesterase enzyme in the brain; however, donepezil may also impact the pathophysiology of AD at several other points. Officially approved for mild-to-moderate and severe AD, donepezil has also been shown to be effective in early-stage AD, vascular dementia, Parkinson's disease dementia/Lewy body disease and cognitive symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis. In addition, one study suggested that donepezil may delay the onset of AD in subjects with mild cognitive impairment, a prodrome to AD. The pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, safety/tolerability profile and drug interaction properties of donepezil make it an easy and safe agent to use. However, in general, the efficacy of donepezil is limited, and ongoing studies are investigating other agents that may ultimately overtake its present position as the mainstay of anti-AD therapy.

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