Examples include donepezil (Aricept®), rivastigmine (Exelon®) and galantamine (Reminyl®).
- They're used mainly to help with memory and concentration for people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease, but may also be used for other dementias, including Lewy Body dementia.
- These 3 medicines are similar and generally have similar side effects. The choice of medicine is usually based on cost, formulation and side effects.
- Only some of them are funded in Aotearoa New Zealand.
- All the cholinesterase inhibitors are available as tablets or capsules, but rivastigmine is also available as a patch applied to the skin daily.
Common side effects include nausea (feeling sick), diarrhoea (runny poos), vomiting (being sick), tummy pain, weight loss, loss of appetite, headache, dizziness and feeling faint. If the medicine is started at a low dose and increased slowly, this may lessen the chance of side effects. Talk to your doctor if these symptoms occur so your dose can be reviewed. If you feel faint or notice a skin rash, or are vomiting, contact your doctor. Don't drive if this medicine makes you drowsy (sleepy).