Acetylcholinesterase is involved in the termination of impulse transmission by rapid hydrolysis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in numerous cholinergic pathways in the central and peripheral nervous systems. The enzyme inactivation, induced by various inhibitors, leads to acetylcholine accumulation, hyperstimulation of nicotinic and muscarinic receptors, and disrupted neurotransmission. Hence, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, interacting with the enzyme as their primary target, are applied as relevant drugs and toxins. This review presents an overview of toxicology and pharmacology of reversible and irreversible acetylcholinesterase inactivating compounds. In the case of reversible inhibitors being commonly applied in neurodegenerative disorders treatment, special attention is paid to currently approved drugs (donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine) in the pharmacotherapy of Alzheimer's disease, and toxic carbamates used as pesticides. Subsequently, mechanism of irreversible acetylcholinesterase inhibition induced by organophosphorus compounds (insecticides and nerve agents), and their specific and nonspecific toxic effects are described, as well as irreversible inhibitors having pharmacological implementation. In addition, the pharmacological treatment of intoxication caused by organophosphates is presented, with emphasis on oxime reactivators of the inhibited enzyme activity administering as causal drugs after the poisoning. Besides, organophosphorus and carbamate insecticides can be detoxified in mammals through enzymatic hydrolysis before they reach targets in the nervous system. Carboxylesterases most effectively decompose carbamates, whereas the most successful route of organophosphates detoxification is their degradation by corresponding phosphotriesterases.