Pharmacotherapy for Vascular Cognitive Impairment

Muhammad U. Farooq*, Jiangyong Min, Christopher Goshgarian, Philip B. Gorelick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Vascular cognitive impairment (VCI) is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Stroke and cardiovascular risk factors have been linked to both AD and VCI and potentially can affect cognitive function in mid and later life. Various pharmacological agents, including donepezil, galantamine, and memantine, approved for the treatment of AD have shown modest cognitive benefits in patients with vascular dementia (VaD). However, their functional and global benefits have been inconsistent. Donepezil has shown some cognitive benefit in patients with VaD only, and galantamine has shown some benefit in mixed dementia (AD/VaD). The benefits of other drugs such as rivastigmine, memantine, nimodipine, and piracetam are not clear. Some other supplements and herbal therapies, such as citicoline, actovegin, huperzine A, and vinpocetine, have also been studied in patients with VaD, but their beneficial effects are not well established. Non-drug therapies and lifestyle modifications such as diet, exercise, and vascular risk factor control are important in the management of VCI and should not be ignored. However, there is a need for more robust clinical trials focusing on executive function and other cognitive measures and incorporation of newer imaging modalities to provide additional evidence about the utility of these strategies in patients with VCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)759-776
Number of pages18
JournalCNS Drugs
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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