We performed a pilot 3-month, open-label study of 5-10 mg donepezil, an anticholinesterase inhibitor, as treatment for memory problems in people with epilepsy. The Buschke Selective Reminding Test was administered at baseline and after 3 months of donepezil. In 18 completing patients, the total number of words recalled across learning trials was greater on donepezil (P = 0.4). No change was noted in attention, visual sequencing, mental flexibility, psychomotor speed, or reported quality-of-life scores. Mean 3-month seizure frequency at baseline was 2.70 ± 4.60, and during treatment, 3.06 ± 4.52 (P = 0.19, not significant). Two patients experienced increased tonic-clonic seizures. Side effects included diarrhea, stomach cramps, insomnia, depression, and blurred vision. Cholinergic medication is worthy of investigation as treatment for memory problems in people with epilepsy, but attention must be paid to possible exacerbation of seizures.
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