Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors: Beneficial Effects on Comorbidities in Patients With Alzheimer’s Disease

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Elderly patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other dementias are at high risk of polypharmacy and excessive polypharmacy for common coexisting medical conditions. Polypharmacy increases the risk of drug–drug and drug–disease interactions in these patients who may not be able to communicate early symptoms of adverse drug events. Three acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (ACHEIs) have been approved for AD: donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon), and galantamine (Razadyne). They are also used off-label for other causes of dementia such as Lewy body and vascular dementia. We here report evidence from the literature that ACHEI treatment, prescribed for cognitive impairment, can reduce the load of medications in patients with AD by also addressing cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and other comorbidities. Using one drug to address multiple symptoms can reduce costs and improve medication compliance.

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