Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors (AChEI's) for the treatment of visual hallucinations in schizophrenia: a case report

Patel, Sachin S.; Attard, Azizah; Jacobsen, Pamela; Shergill, Sukhi
January 2010
BMC Psychiatry;2010, Vol. 10, p68
Academic Journal
Case Study
Background: Visual hallucinations are commonly seen in various neurological and psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia. Current models of visual processing and studies in diseases including Parkinsons Disease and Lewy Body Dementia propose that Acetylcholine (Ach) plays a pivotal role in our ability to accurately interpret visual stimuli. Depletion of Ach is thought to be associated with visual hallucination generation. AchEI's have been used in the targeted treatment of visual hallucinations in dementia and Parkinson's Disease patients. In Schizophrenia, it is thought that a similar Ach depletion leads to visual hallucinations and may provide a target for drug treatment Case Presentation: We present a case of a patient with Schizophrenia presenting with treatment resistant and significantly distressing visual hallucinations. After optimising treatment for schizophrenia we used Rivastigmine, an AchEI, as an adjunct to treat her symptoms successfully. Conclusions: This case is the first to illustrate this novel use of an AchEI in the targeted treatment of visual hallucinations in a patient with Schizophrenia. Targeted therapy of this kind can be considered in challenging cases although more evidence is required in this field.


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