Background: We performed a meta-analysis of cholinesterase inhibitors for patients with Lewy body disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, Parkinson's disease dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies. Methods: The meta-analysis included only randomized controlled trials of cholinesterase inhibitors for Lewy body disorders. Results: Seventeen studies (n = 1798) were assessed. Cholinesterase inhibitors significantly improved cognitive function (standardized mean difference [SMD] = -0.53], behavioral disturbances (SMD = -0.28), activities of daily living (SMD = -0.28), and global function (SMD = -0.52) compared with control treatments. Changes in motor function were not significantly different from control treatments. Furthermore, the cholinesterase inhibitor group had a higher all-cause discontinuation (risk ratio [RR] = 1.48, number needed to harm [NNH] = 14), discontinuation due to adverse events (RR = 1.59, NNH = 20), at least one adverse event (RR = 1.13, NNH = 11), nausea (RR = 2.50, NNH = 13), and tremor (RR = 2.30, NNH = 20). Conclusions: Cholinesterase inhibitors appear beneficial for the treatment of Lewy body disorders without detrimental effects on motor function. However, a careful monitoring of treatment compliance and side effects is required.
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