Journal of Neural Transmission

, Volume 116, Issue 4, pp 457–465 | Cite as

Efficacy and safety of natural acetylcholinesterase inhibitor huperzine A in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: an updated meta-analysis

  • Bai-song Wang
  • Hao Wang
  • Zhao-hui Wei
  • Yan-yan Song
  • Lu Zhang
  • Hong-zhuan ChenEmail author
Dementias - Original Article


The objective of this study was to provide an updated meta-analysis of the efficacy and safety of huperzine A (HupA) in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We searched for randomized trials comparing HupA with placebo in the treatment of AD. The primary outcome measures were mini-mental state examination (MMSE) and activities of daily living scale (ADL). Data were extracted from four randomized clinical trials and analyzed using standard meta-analysis and meta-regression methods. Oral administration of HupA for 8–24 weeks (300–500 μg daily) led to significant improvements in MMSE and ADL. The results of meta-regression showed that the estimated effect size of MMSE and ADL was increased over the treatment time. Most adverse events were cholinergic in nature and no serious adverse events occurred. Huperzine A is a well-tolerated drug that could significantly improve cognitive performance and ADL in patients with AD.


Alzheimer’s disease Huperzine A Acetylcholinesterase inhibitor Clinical trials Meta-analysis Meta-regression 



We gratefully thank the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 30772553), the Program of Shanghai Subject Chief Scientist (06XD14011), the Major Basic Research Project of Shanghai Municipal Science and Technology Commission (07DJ14005) and Shanghai Rising-Star Program (08QA14042) for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bai-song Wang
    • 1
  • Hao Wang
    • 1
  • Zhao-hui Wei
    • 1
  • Yan-yan Song
    • 1
  • Lu Zhang
    • 2
  • Hong-zhuan Chen
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology and Biostatistics, Institute of Medical SciencesShanghai Jiaotong University School of MedicineShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical Engineering, Institute of Medical SciencesShanghai Jiaotong University School of MedicineShanghaiChina

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