Clinical efficacy and safety of donepezil in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease in Chinese patients

Clin Interv Aging. 2018 Oct 11:13:1963-1970. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S159920. eCollection 2018.


Donepezil, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChEI), has been widely used to treat Alzheimer's disease (AD) in China. However, there are few studies focusing on the efficacy and safety of donepezil in Chinese patients. In this review, we discuss 1) the efficacy of donepezil and its comparison with other AChEIs or memantine, 2) the therapeutic responses to donepezil and its influencing factors, and 3) the safety and tolerability of donepezil in Chinese patients with different stages of AD and amnestic mild cognitive impairment, and further compare the similarities and differences of the results between Chinese studies and previous Western studies that predominantly enrolled Caucasian subjects. We include Chinese clinical trials and other well-designed studies investigating donepezil or using donepezil as a positive control, in which the efficacy and/or safety of donepezil have been analyzed. Based on these studies, donepezil has been shown to be effective and safe in Chinese AD patients and may impact AD biomarkers, such as hippocampal atrophy, Aβ, and tau. In addition, the therapeutic response to donepezil may be influenced by apolipoprotein E or cytochrome P450 2D6 polymorphism.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; acetylcholinesterase inhibitor; amnestic mild cognitive impairment; donepezil; efficacy; safety.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • China
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / drug therapy*
  • Donepezil / adverse effects
  • Donepezil / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Memantine / therapeutic use
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Donepezil
  • Memantine