ATC Group: N06D Anti-dementia drugs
Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System
Donepezil hydrochloride is a specific and reversible inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase, the predominant cholinesterase in the brain. Donepezil hydrochloride is in vitro over 1000 times more potent an inhibitor of this enzyme than of butyrylcholinesterase, an enzyme that is present mainly outside the central nervous system.
Galantamine, a tertiary alkaloid is a selective, competitive and reversible inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase. In addition, galantamine enhances the intrinsic action of acetylcholine on nicotinic receptors, probably through binding to an allosteric site of the receptor. As a consequence, an increased activity in the cholinergic system associated with improved cognitive function can be achieved in patients with dementia of the Alzheimer type.
The exact mechanism of action of ginkgo biloba is not known. Human pharmacological data show increased EEG vigilance in geriatric subjects, reduction in blood viscosity and improved cerebral perfusion in specific areas in healthy men (60-70 years) and reduction in platelet aggregation. Additionally, vasodilating effects on forearm blood vessels causing increased regional blood flow are shown.
Memantine is a voltage-dependent, moderate-affinity uncompetitive NMDA-receptor antagonist. It modulates the effects of pathologically elevated tonic levels of glutamate that may lead to neuronal dysfunction.
Rivastigmine is an acetyl- and butyrylcholinesterase inhibitor of the carbamate type, thought to facilitate cholinergic neurotransmission by slowing the degradation of acetylcholine released by functionally intact cholinergic neurones. Thus, rivastigmine may have an ameliorative effect on cholinergic-mediated cognitive deficits in dementia associated with Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Rivastigmine interacts with its target enzymes by forming a covalently bound complex that temporarily inactivates the enzymes. In healthy young men, an oral 3 mg dose decreases acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity in CSF by approximately 40% within the first 1.5 hours after administration. Activity of the enzyme returns to baseline levels about 9 hours after the maximum inhibitory effect has been achieved. In patients with Alzheimer’s disease, inhibition of AChE in CSF by rivastigmine was dose-dependent up to 6 mg given twice daily, the highest dose tested. Inhibition of butyrylcholinesterase activity in CSF of 14 Alzheimer patients treated by rivastigmine was similar to that of AChE.