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Cholinesterase Inhibitors

Medical Uses

Acetylcholine is the chemical messenger at many points in the nervous system, notably the junctions between:

  • nerve cells and skeletal muscle
  • nerve cells and heart muscle
  • nerve cells and glands
  • nerve cells and other nerve cells, including in the periphery, the spinal cord, and the brain
Many vital functions could be affected by drug manipulation of the acetylcholine messenger. There are cases where physicians might want to "soup up" neurochemical signaling by increasing the amount of acetylcholine in these junctions.

Some conditions that are known to benefit from enhancing acetylcholine action with cholinesterase inhibitor drugs are:

A common prescription drug used for these purposes is physostigmine.

Knowing what you now know about how cholinesterase inhibitors work, you no doubt realize that overdose can be dangerous. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

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