Effects of donepezil on cognitive functioning in Down syndrome

Am J Ment Retard. 2003 Nov;108(6):367-72. doi: 10.1352/0895-8017(2003)108<367:EODOCF>2.0.CO;2.


Our goal in this study was to determine whether donepezil, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, would improve cognitive functioning in 19 subjects with Down syndrome and no dementia. They were assigned to either a donepezil or placebo group. Cognitive functioning and caregiver ratings were measured at baseline, 4 weeks, and 12 weeks. With the exception of one area (language), no improvement was noted in any of the cognitive subtests, behavioral scores, or caregiver ratings. Subjects in the donepezil group showed an improvement in language scores compared to subjects in the placebo group. The results suggest that donepezil may improve language performance in subjects with Down syndrome and no dementia, but further studies need to be done on a larger group to confirm this result.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Donepezil
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Down Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Down Syndrome / psychology
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indans / adverse effects
  • Indans / therapeutic use*
  • Language Development Disorders / drug therapy
  • Language Development Disorders / psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Nootropic Agents / adverse effects
  • Nootropic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Piperidines / adverse effects
  • Piperidines / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Indans
  • Nootropic Agents
  • Piperidines
  • Donepezil