International Psychogeriatrics

Guest Editorial

Could cholinesterase inhibitors be harmful over the long term?

Lon S. Schneidera1

a1 Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA Email:

Given the rather modest clinical effects of cholinesterase inhibitors, an important question is: For how long should they be prescribed? The clinical trials that supported marketing of the drugs were only 3–6 months in duration. A couple of 12-month, placebo-controlled donepezil trials showed some advantage for Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores and maintaining a level of activities of daily living (ADL) function during that interval (Mohs et al., 2001; Winblad et al., 2001). The controversial AD2000 trial in the UK tended to show MMSE and ADL efficacy over at least two years (Courtney et al., 2004), but the authors questioned whether treatment was worthwhile or cost-effective.