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Cholinesterase inhibitors

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Anticholinesterases are drugs used surgically to antagonise the effect of true cholinesterase which degrades acetylcholine at cholinergic synapses. Cholinergic transmission is thus enhanced. This permits the competitive antagonism of a neuromuscular-blocking drug and thus reversal of paralysis e.g. in operative general anaesthesia, or with ventilation.

The principal drug for this use is neostigmine.

Anticholinesterases are also used by physicians in the diagnosis of myasthenia gravis - the edrophonium test.

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