[Cholinesterase inhibitors and Alzheimer's disease: meta-analysis of the verification of effectiveness, origin and bias of results in published studies]

Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2007 Jun 1;132(22):1207-13. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-979399.
[Article in German]


Background and objective: The cholinesterase-inhibitors (AChE-I) donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine are currently used in the symptomatic treatment of patients with Alzheimer's dementia (AD) and the associated cholinergic deficits as well as those with other forms of dementia. Three aspects were analysed: (1) data on their clinical efficacy, (2) differences between North-American and international studies, and (3) potential publication biases.

Methods: Included were data from randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind parallel group trials on more than 100 patients who had been treated for > or =12 weeks for AD, VaD, dementia with Lewy bodies, dementia with Parkinson's disease or with mild cognitive impairment.

Results: These large published trials support the clinical efficacy of AChE-I in patients with mild to moderate AD and other forms of dementia with regard to cognition and global impression. there was a trend towards greater beneficial cognitive effects in North-American studies, but this was non-significant. There was no evidence of a publication bias.

Conclusions: Published data provide evidence for the clinical efficacy of donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine in patients with mild to moderate AD. There is no indication that these results are critically influenced by the origin or a bias of the publication.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Donepezil
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Galantamine / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Indans / therapeutic use
  • Phenylcarbamates / therapeutic use
  • Piperidines / therapeutic use
  • Publication Bias*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Rivastigmine
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Indans
  • Phenylcarbamates
  • Piperidines
  • Galantamine
  • Donepezil
  • Rivastigmine