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Curr Med Res Opin. 2008 Jan;24(1):157-66.

A systematic review of the effectiveness of rivastigmine for the treatment of behavioral disturbances in dementia and other neurological disorders.

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Southeastern Geriatric Healthcare Group, Snellville, GA 30078, USA.



Dementia is frequently associated with behavioral disturbances, some of which have a significant impact on patient quality of life and the likelihood of institutionalization. Cholinergic systems, among other neurotransmitters in the brain, appear to be involved with different behaviors, such as psychosis, depression, agitation, and personality changes.


This paper reviews the clinical data on the effectiveness of rivastigmine, a dual inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase, in ameliorating behavioral disturbances in different patient populations. Relevant articles were identified through MEDLINE searches with no date restrictions.


In particular, rivastigmine has shown efficacy in treating behavioral disturbances in patients with a wide range of dementias - Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, fronto-temporal dementia, mixed dementia, Lewy body dementia, Parkinson's disease with dementia, and schizophrenia with dementia. Most of the studies have been open-label clinical trials with behavior as a secondary endpoint. The behavior domains that most consistently showed improvement were apathy/indifference, anxiety, delusions (psychosis), and hallucinations. The major limitation of this review is that the effects on behavioral symptoms were usually secondary endpoints in clinical trials.


The efficacious effects of treatment with rivastigmine on various behavioral disturbances provide supporting evidence that cholinergic mechanisms, among other neurotransmitters, are involved in the manifestation of some behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.

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