Acute cognitive effects of donepezil in visuospatial working memory


Zaninotto, A. L. C.; Bueno, O. F. A.; Pradella-Hallinan, M.; Tufik, S.; Rusted, J.; Stough, C.; Pompeia, S.


Drugs such as donepezil that increase the availability of acetylcholine (Ach) are known to improve various cognitive processes, but the acute nootropic potential of this drug in young, healthy volunteers has not been shown, possibly because effects were evaluated before peak-plasma concentration was reached. Here we evaluated the cognitive effects of an acute oral dose of donepezil in young, healthy volunteers at peak-plasma concentration. This was a double-blind, placebo controlled, parallel group design study of cognitive effects of acute oral donepezil (5 mg). Subjects were tested twice after donepezil ingestion: 90 min (time that coincides with previous testing in the literature) and 210 min. (theoretical peak-plasma concentration). The test battery included tasks that tap cognitive domains that are sensitive to ACh manipulations. Most of donepezil's effects were observed at both testing times and included improvement in mood, long-term recall of prose, objects recall, recall of spatial locations and integration of objects with their locations. However, improvement of performance in the central executive measure (backward digit span) occurred only at 210 min. Positive cognitive effects of acute donepezil can be observed in various cognitive domains but its full nootropic potential is more clearly found at peak-plasma concentration.

Publication year


Publication type

Conference paper


2nd International Meeting on Working Memory, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 26-27 August 2009


Department of Psychobiology