Rivastigmine for the treatment of dementia and visual hallucinations associated with Parkinson's disease: a case series

Curr Med Res Opin. 2002;18(5):258-64. doi: 10.1185/030079902125000813.


Parkinson's disease patients may suffer from cognitive impairment and behavioural problems such as apathy, personality changes, speech disturbances and visual hallucinations (Parkinson's disease dementia). However, there is currently no recommended treatment for Parkinson's disease dementia and antipsychotic agents can worsen extrapyramidal symptoms, making them unsuitable for patients with this condition. The observation that patients with Parkinson's disease dementia have extensive cholinergic deficits led to the hypothesis that cholinesterase inhibitors may provide benefits for patients with this condition. Here, we present a case series of patients with Parkinson's disease and dementia who we treated with rivastigmine, a dual inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE) that shows brain region-selectivity. The introduction of rivastigmine led to improvements in cognitive and functional abilities, as well as the resolution of behavioural problems and visual hallucinations. Rivastigmine was well tolerated by our patients when the dose was escalated slowly, including one patient who had previously experienced severe side-effects with the AChE-selective inhibitor donepezil. Despite the large number and range of concomitant medications being received by the patients, no side-effects thought to be related to drug-drug interactions were reported. A large, placebo-controlled study is warranted to ascertain the full clinical profile of rivastigmine in Parkinson's disease dementia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carbamates / therapeutic use*
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Dementia / drug therapy*
  • Dementia / etiology
  • Female
  • Hallucinations / drug therapy*
  • Hallucinations / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parkinson Disease / complications*
  • Phenylcarbamates*
  • Rivastigmine
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Carbamates
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Phenylcarbamates
  • Rivastigmine