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REVIEW Rivastigmine is a carbamate derivative that is structurally related to physostigmine, but not to donepezil and tacrine. The precise mechanism of rivastigmine has not been fully determined, but it is suggested that rivastigmine binds reversibly with and inactivates chlolinesterase (eg. acetylcholinesterase, butyrylcholinesterase), preventing the hydrolysis of acetycholine, and thus leading to an increased concentration of acetylcholine at cholinergic synapses. The anticholinesterase activity of rivastigmine is relatively specific for brain acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase compared with those in peripheral tissues.
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Rosler M, Anand R, Cicin-Sain A, Gauthier S, Agid Y, Dal-Bianco P, Stahelin HB, Hartman R, Gharabawi M: Efficacy and safety of rivastigmine in patients with Alzheimer's disease: international randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 1999 Mar 6;318(7184):633-8.
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Rosler M, Retz W, Retz-Junginger P, Dennler HJ: Effects of two-year treatment with the cholinesterase inhibitor rivastigmine on behavioural symptoms in Alzheimer's disease. Behav Neurol. 1998;11(4):211-216.
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