Huperzine A

Drugs R D. 2004;5(1):44-5. doi: 10.2165/00126839-200405010-00009.


Huperzine A, an alkaloid isolated from Huperzia serrata, is a putative nootropic agent developed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Huperzine A is currently in phase III trials in China for the treatment of patients with Alzheimer's disease. The mechanism of action of huperzine A is suggested to be facilitated through the slow reversible inhibition of acetylcholinesterase. Marco Hi-Tech Joint Venture has exclusive worldwide marketing and distribution rights to huperzine A. Marco Hi-Tech Joint Venture is a corporation principally owned by Hi-Tech Pharmacal and Marco International, a global trading and finance firm formed to import huperzine A from China. Marco Hi-Tech Joint Venture also has rights to synthetic analogues of huperzine A. In July 2003, Savient Pharmaceuticals acquired the exclusive rights from Marco Hi-Tech to market huperzine A in Europe and the US. Clinical trials of huperzine A in elderly patients with age-associated memory loss are underway in the US, and a phase II study funded by an NCI grant is being planned.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids
  • Alzheimer Disease / blood
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Animals
  • Drugs, Investigational / pharmacokinetics
  • Drugs, Investigational / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Nootropic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Nootropic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Sesquiterpenes / pharmacokinetics
  • Sesquiterpenes / therapeutic use*


  • Alkaloids
  • Drugs, Investigational
  • Nootropic Agents
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • huperzine A