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See also: Anticholinergic



An acetylcholinesterase inhibitor or anti-cholinesterase is a chemical that inhibits the cholinesterase enzyme from breaking down acetylcholine, so increasing both the level and duration of action of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.


Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors:


reversible inhibitor[]

Compounds which function as reversible competitive or noncompetitive inhibitors of cholinesterase are those most likely to have therapeutic uses. These include:

These need classifying[]

Comparison table[]

Comparison of reversible acetylcholinesterase inhibitors
Inhibitor Duration[1] Main site of action[1] Clinical use[1] Adverse effects[1]
edrophonium short neuromuscular junction diagnosis of myasthenia gravis
neostigmine medium neuromuscular junction visceral
physiostigmine medium postganglionic parasympathetic treat glaucoma (eye drops)
pyridostigmine medium neuromuscular junction
dyflos long postganglionic parasympathetic historically to treat glaucoma (eye drops) toxic
ecothiopate long postganglionic parasympathetic treat glaucoma (eye drops) systemic effects
parathion long none toxic

quasi-irreversible inhibitor[]

Compounds which function as quasi-irreversible inhibitors of cholinesterase are those most likely to have use as chemical weapons or pesticides. These include:

  • Organophosphates
    • echothiophate
    • diisopropyl fluorophosphate
    • cyclosarin
    • sarin
    • soman
    • tabun
    • VX
    • VE
    • VG
    • VM
    • diazinon
    • malathion
    • parathion
  • Carbamates
    • aldicarb
    • bendiocarb
    • bufencarb
    • carbaryl
    • carbendazim
    • carbetamide
    • carbofuran
    • chlorbufam
    • chloropropham
    • ethiofencarb
    • formetanate
    • methiocarb
    • methomyl
    • oxamyl
    • phenmedipham
    • pinmicarb
    • pirimicarb
    • propamocarb
    • propham
    • propoxur

Natural Compounds (Supplements)[]


Some major effects of anticholinesterases:

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Unless else specified n boxes, then ref is:Rang, H. P. (2003). Pharmacology, Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. Page 156

External links[]

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