is a drug used for
treatment of symptoms associated with Alzheimer's
disease. It was approved by the US Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996 and is currently
marketed in the US by Pfizer under the brand name of Aricept.
Donepezil works to increase the level of
in the brain. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter
which is important for learning and memory;
one feature of AD is a reduction in brain levels of acetylcholine.
Like the other currently-available AD drugs, tacrine
(trade name Cognex), rivastigmine
(trade name Exelon) and galantamine
(trade name Reminyl), donepezil is a cholinesterase
inhibitor, meaning that it acts to inhibit the enzymes
which break down unused acetylcholine; the result is that
existing acetylcholine survives longer and is more effective.
by Catherine E. Myers. Copyright © 2006 Memory Loss and the Brain