Intracerebroventricular bethanechol chloride infusion in Alzheimer's disease. Results of a collaborative double-blind study

R. E. Harbaugh, T. M. Reeder, H. J. Senter, D. S. Knopman, D. S. Baskin, F. Pirozzolo, H. C. Chui, A. G. Shetter, R. A.E. Bakay, R. Leblanc, R. T. Watson, S. T. DeKosky, F. A. Schmitt, S. L. Read, J. T. Johnston

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The use of intracerebroventricular bethanechol chloride infusion in patients with Alzheimer's disease was first reported in 1984. An initial trial in four patients demonstrated the feasibility of this approach for cholinergic drug delivery to the brain, but objective improvement in cognitive function was not documented. A collaborative placebo-controlled double-blind crossover study has now been carried out in 49 patients with biopsy-documented Alzheimer's disease. The results demonstrate a statistical improvement in Mini-Mental State scores and significantly slower performance on Trails A testing during drug infusion. Other neuropsychological test scores were not similarity affected. The degree of improvement was not sufficient to justify further treatment of Alzheimer's disease patients by intracerebroventricular infusion of bethanechol chloride. The drug delivery system used in the study was well tolerated, with two irreversible complications in more than 50,000 patient days.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-486
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1989


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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