Clinical Use of Cholinomimetic Agents: A Review

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Background:There are many agents in clinical use that manipulate central nervous system levels of epinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. However, development of pharmacological options to manipulate central acetylcholine systems has lagged behind because of poor penetration of the blood–brain barrier and significant peripheral nervous system side effects. Newer agents have demonstrated some efficacy in the management of behavioral and cognitive side effects in Alzheimer's disease, and preliminary data in traumatic brain injury suggest acetylcholine esterase inhibitors may play a significant role in the treatment of this patient population as well.Conclusions:In this article, the basic neuroanatomy and pharmacology of the central acetylcholine system are reviewed, along with agents currently available for clinical use.

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