Dementia: switching acetylcholinesterase inhibitor medication leads to benefits

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  • Switching acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (ChEI) medication may lead to cognitive or affective benefits in some patients.

Why this matters

  • For patients who are underserved by ChEI medication, a switch may be in order.

Key results

  • 6 mo after the switch, patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) were taking lower doses of the new ChEI medication compared with the dose they were taking before (P=.000).
  • Patients who switched from galantamine to donepezil saw cognitive benefits after the switch, but not those who switched to rivastigmine.
  • Patients who switched from rivastigmine to galantamine saw affective benefits, but not those who switched to donepezil.

Study design

  • Retrospective study of 171 patients with AD who changed ChEI medication.
  • Funding: Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sports of Japan.


  • Small sample size.
  • Retrospective study design.