Efficacy and safety of cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine in cognitive impairment in Parkinson's disease, Parkinson's disease dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies: systematic review with meta-analysis and trial sequential analysis

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2015 Feb;86(2):135-43. doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2014-307659. Epub 2014 May 14.


Objective: Recently, several large randomised controlled trials about the treatments of cognitive impairment or dementia due to Parkinson's disease (CIND-PD or PDD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) were completed. Here, we systematically reviewed the studies (including the recent reports) to provide updated evidence for the treatments of CIND-PD, PDD and DLB.

Methods: We searched Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group Specialised Register, Pubmed, Embase, and other sources for eligible trials. We selected global impression and cognitive function as primary efficacy outcomes, and dropouts and adverse events as safety outcomes. Furthermore, Meta-analysis and trial sequential analysis (TSA) were used here.

Results: Ten trials were included in this study. Cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine produced small global efficacy on clinicians' global impression of change (CGIC), from a weighted mean difference of -0.40 (95% CI -0.77 to -0.03) to -0.65 (95% CI -1.28 to -0.01); however, cholinesterase inhibitors but not memantine significantly improved cognition on Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), from 1.04 (95% CI 0.43 to 1.65) to 2.57 (95% CI 0.90 to 4.23). Additionally, both of them had good safety outcomes, although rivastigmine showed an increased risk on adverse events than placebo (risk ratio, RR 1.19, TSA adjusted 95% CI 1.04 to 1.36), these events were usually mild or moderate, and the risk disappeared on serious adverse events.

Conclusions: Cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine slightly improve global impression; however, only cholinesterase inhibitors enhance cognitive function. Besides, all the drugs have good safety outcomes. But the limited trials precluded the generalisation of these outcomes.

Keywords: Dementia; LEWY BODY; Neuropharmacology; Parkinson's Disease; Systematic Reviews.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiparkinson Agents / adverse effects
  • Antiparkinson Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Cognition Disorders / complications
  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Lewy Body Disease / drug therapy*
  • Memantine / adverse effects
  • Memantine / therapeutic use*
  • Parkinson Disease / complications
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy*


  • Antiparkinson Agents
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Memantine