To determine whether treatment with physostigmine can improve the conditions of patients with ataxia.
A double-blind crossover study with physostigmine was performed in 19 patients with degenerative cerebellar diseases.
Patients were selected from an ongoing prospective follow-up study at the university hospital in Lübeck, Germany.
Eleven patients with autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxia and 8 patients with idiopathic cerebellar ataxia.
Physostigmine was administered by using a transdermal system (patch) containing 30 mg of physostigmine as a base, of which about 6 mg is released during 24 hours along a diffusion gradient. Each treatment phase with the physostigmine patch or the placebo lasted 4 weeks, after which the treatment of patients was crossed over to the other phase.
Main Outcome Measures:
Ataxia was documented and quantified by using a clinical score and posturographic measures.
Physostigmine patches had no significant effect on cerebellar symptoms.
Treatment with physostigmine does not improve the conditions of patients with ataxia.
Wessel K, Langenberger K, Nitschke MF, Kömpf D. Double-blind Crossover Study With Physostigmine in Patients With Degenerative Cerebellar Diseases. Arch Neurol. 1997;54(4):397-400. doi:10.1001/archneur.1997.00550160041013