The pharmacology of galanthamine and its analogues

A L Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

156 Citations (Scopus)


Galanthamine is an alkaloid found in the bulbs of snowdrops and several Amaryllidaceae plants. At submicromolar concentrations, it inhibits acetylcholinesterase activity, but it is much less potent against butyrylcholinesterase activity. Galanthamine has been used in anaesthetics to reverse neuromuscular paralysis by tubocurarine-like muscle relaxants, but it is a tertiary amine that gets into the brain to cause central effects. Galanthamine is being studied as a possible therapeutic agent in Alzheimer's disease because of its central cholinergic effects. Positive effects have been demonstrated in several learning and memory tests in animals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-128
Number of pages16
JournalPharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • animals
  • central nervous system
  • cholinesterase inhibitors
  • galantamine
  • humans
  • nootropic agents
  • parasympathomimetics


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