Cholinesterase inhibition as a possible therapy for delirium in vascular dementia: a controlled, open 24-month study of 246 patients

Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2004 Nov-Dec;19(6):333-9. doi: 10.1177/153331750401900607.


The goal of this study was to determine whether rivastigmine, a dual inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE), has any effect on delirium in vascular dementia (VaD). The results from this follow-up study suggest that although delirium is frequent in elderly, cognitively impaired patients, it might not be a simple consequence of acute disease and hospitalization. Rather, delirium can be secondary to brain damage and to metabolic disturbances. According to the Lewy body dementia model, delirium could be induced by a lack of acetylcholine in the brain. Rivastigmine may help reduce the frequency of delirium episodes and help shorten their duration. Additional studies are required to better define the causes of delirium, which currently has no definitive treatment.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Delirium / drug therapy*
  • Delirium / etiology*
  • Dementia, Vascular / complications*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Phenylcarbamates / therapeutic use*
  • Rivastigmine


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Phenylcarbamates
  • Rivastigmine