Physostigmine and arecoline: effects of intravenous infusions in Alzheimer presenile dementia

Br J Psychiatry. 1981 Jan;138:46-50. doi: 10.1192/bjp.138.1.46.


Physostigmine (0.25 mg-1 mg), arecoline (2 and 4 mg) and saline were administered intravenously over 30 minutes in a randomized double blind design to 11 patients with a clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer presenile dementia. Significant improvement was seen on a picture recognition test with physostigmine 0.375 mg and arecholine 4 mg. A trend towards improvement was also seen with physostigmine 0.25 mg and 0.75 mg, and arecholine 2 mg. For the majority of the patients improvement was only slight but in two patients it was clear cut and consistent.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Arecoline / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dementia / drug therapy*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Memory
  • Middle Aged
  • Physostigmine / therapeutic use*


  • Arecoline
  • Physostigmine