Effect of rivastigmine on mobility of patients with higher-level gait disorder: a pilot exploratory study

Drugs R D. 2014 Jun;14(2):57-62. doi: 10.1007/s40268-014-0038-8.


Background: Higher-level gait disorder (HLGD) in older adults is characterized by postural instability, stepping dysrhythmicity, recurrent falls and progressive immobility. Cognitive impairments are frequently associated with HLGD.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to compare gait and cognitive performance before and after the use of rivastigmine in patients with HLGD, free from cognitive impairment or Parkinsonism.

Methods: Fifteen non-demented patients with HLGD (age 79.2 ± 5.9 years; 11 women; Mini-Mental State Examination [MMSE] 28.3 ± 1.4) received escalating doses of rivastigmine for 12 weeks in an open-label, pilot study. They were assessed before and after treatment (week 0 and week 12), and after a 4-week washout period (week 16). Assessments included the Mindstreams computerized neuropsychological battery, Activities-specific Balance Confidence Scale, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Geriatric Depression Scale, Timed Up and Go (TUG) test, gait speed and stride time variability. One-way multiple analysis of variance tests for repeated measures were used, and Pillai's trace test was considered as robust to investigate significant differences.

Results: The mean dose of rivastigmine during the 8-12 week period was 5.1 ± 2.3 mg/day. A positive effect was observed on the Mindstreams memory subscale and anxiety scores [Pillai's trace: F(6,724) = 0.508, p = 0.010; and F(7,792) = 0.545, p = 0.006, respectively, over the course of the study] as well as on mobility (TUG test) [Pillai's trace: F(4,863) = 0.448; p = 0.028], whereas gait speed and stride time variability did not change.

Conclusions: The use of relatively low-dose rivastigmine did not affect gait speed and stride time variability; however, the general mobility and anxiety were improved. These preliminary results warrant a larger, randomized, placebo-controlled study.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Neuroprotective Agents / administration & dosage
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Phenylcarbamates / administration & dosage
  • Phenylcarbamates / therapeutic use*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Rivastigmine


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Phenylcarbamates
  • Rivastigmine