Cholinesterase inhibitors for dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson's disease dementia and cognitive impairment in Parkinson's disease.

Michal Rolinski*, Chris Fox, Ian Maidment, Rupert McShane

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

167 Citations (Scopus)


Previous Cochrane reviews have considered the use of cholinesterase inhibitors in both Parkinson's disease with dementia (PDD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). The clinical features of DLB and PDD have much in common and are distinguished primarily on the basis of whether or not parkinsonism precedes dementia by more than a year. Patients with both conditions have particularly severe deficits in cortical levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Therefore, blocking its breakdown using cholinesterase inhibitors may lead to clinical improvement. To assess the efficacy, safety and tolerability of cholinesterase inhibitors in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), Parkinson's disease with dementia (PDD), and cognitive impairment in Parkinson's disease falling short of dementia (CIND-PD) (considered as separate phenomena and also grouped together as Lewy body disease). The trials were identified from a search of ALOIS, the Specialised Register of the Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group (on 30 August 2011) using the search terms Lewy, Parkinson, PDD, DLB, LBD. This register consists of records from major healthcare databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL) and many ongoing trial databases and is updated regularly.Reference lists of relevant studies were searched for additional trials. Randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials assessing the efficacy of treatment with cholinesterase inhibitors in DLB, PDD and cognitive impairment in Parkinson's disease (CIND-PD). Data were extracted from published reports by one review author (MR). The data for each 'condition' (that is DLB, PDD or CIND-PD) were considered separately and, where possible, also pooled together. Statistical analysis was conducted using Review Manager version 5.0. Six trials met the inclusion criteria for this review, in which a total of 1236 participants were randomised. Four of the trials were of a parallel group design and two cross-over trials were included. Four of the trials included participants with a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease with dementia (Aarsland 2002a; Dubois 2007; Emre 2004; Ravina 2005), of which Dubois 2007 remains unpublished. Leroi 2004 included patients with cognitive impairment and Parkinson's disease (both with and without dementia). Patients with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) were included in only one of the trials (McKeith 2000).For global assessment, three trials comparing cholinesterase inhibitor treatment to placebo in PDD (Aarsland 2002a; Emre 2004; Ravina 2005) reported a difference in the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study-Clinical Global Impression of Change (ADCS-CGIC) score of -0.38, favouring the cholinesterase inhibitors (95% CI -0.56 to -0.24, P < 0.0001).For cognitive function, a pooled estimate of the effect of cholinesterase inhibitors on cognitive function measures was consistent with the presence of a therapeutic benefit (standardised mean difference (SMD) -0.34, 95% CI -0.46 to -0.23, P < 0.00001).

Original languageEnglish
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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