Description and Brand Names

Drug information provided by: Merative, Micromedex®


Tacrine is used to treat the symptoms of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. Tacrine will not cure Alzheimer's disease, and it will not stop the disease from getting worse. However, tacrine can improve thinking ability in some patients with Alzheimer's disease.

In Alzheimer's disease, many chemical changes take place in the brain. One of the earliest and biggest changes is that there is less of a chemical messenger called acetylcholine (ACh). ACh helps the brain to work properly. Tacrine slows the breakdown of ACh, so it can build up and have a greater effect. However, as Alzheimer's disease gets worse, there will be less and less ACh, so tacrine may not work as well.

Tacrine may cause liver problems. While taking this medicine, you must have blood tests regularly to see if the medicine is affecting your liver.

This medicine was available only with your doctor's prescription. Tacrine (Cognex®) was withdrawn from the US market in May 2012.