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Ann Pharmacother. 2009 Mar;43(3):514-8. doi: 10.1345/aph.1L402. Epub 2009 Feb 24.

Role of huperzine a in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Author information

1
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences-Worcester/Manchester, MA, USA. Alicia.Desilets@mcphs.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To review the role of huperzine A in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD).

DATA SOURCES:

A literature search was conducted through MEDLINE (1950-September week 2, 2008), EMBASE (all years), Google Scholar, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, and a bibliographic review of relevant articles. Key words included huperzine, huperin, Huperzia serrata, and Alzheimer's disease.

STUDY SELECTION AND DATA EXTRACTION:

All clinical trials published in the English language that evaluated huperzine A in patients with AD were included in this review. Articles published in Chinese were included when English abstracts or electronic translation technology were available.

DATA SYNTHESIS:

AD is a progressive neurodegenerative brain disorder for which there is no cure; available therapies only decrease cognitive decline. Huperzine A, an alkaloid derived from Chinese club moss (H. serrata), acts as a selective inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase and may also display neuroprotective properties. Preliminary data suggest that huperzine A may improve cognition; studies ranging from 8 to 12 weeks have found improvements in the Mini-Mental State Examination score of 1-5 points.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although use of huperzine A has shown promising results in patients with AD, data supporting its use are limited by weak study design. Largescale, randomized, placebo-controlled trials are necessary to establish the role of huperzine A in the treatment of AD.

PMID:
19240260
DOI:
10.1345/aph.1L402
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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