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Can Galantamine Act as an Antidote for Organophosphate Poisoning? A Review

Author(s): T. H. Indu, D. Raja, B. Manjunatha and S. Ponnusankar*
Department of Pharmacy Practice, JSS College of Pharmacy, Ooty–643 001, 1Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, JSS Medical College, Mysore–570 015, India

Correspondence Address:
S. Ponnusankar Department of Pharmacy Practice, JSS College of Pharmacy, Ooty–643 001, India Email:

Organophosphate compounds are commonly used as insecticides in rural areas and powerful warfare agents by military personnel. These agents inhibit cholinesterases especially acetylcholinesterase and accumulate acetylcholine causing muscarinic, nicotinic and central nervous system manifestations. Currently, drugs such as atropine, oximes and benzodiazepine are used to treat these symptoms. But these drugs are associated with certain drawbacks and have found to be ineffective in preventing the delayed symptoms. This review analyses the rationalities in considering galantamine as an effective choice in the management of organophosphate toxicity. The mechanism is based on reversible competitive inhibiting property of galantamine on acetylcholinesterase without affecting butylcholinesterase. The drug can prevent the delayed cognitive effects and neurodegeneration by acting as a nicotinic allosteric potentiating ligand. It can cross the blood brain barrier and inhibit acetylcholinesterase in the brain reversibly and decrease the incidence of central nervous system manifestations such as convulsions. The drug is associated with good pharmacokinetic profile, minimal side effects and has been found to be effective as a pretreatment and post treatment agent. Thus, galantamine can be considered as an effective therapeutic agent in management of organophosphate toxicity.

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