Biperiden Selectively Impairs Verbal Episodic Memory in a Dose- and Time-Dependent Manner in Healthy Subjects

Laura Borghans, Anke Sambeth, Arjan Blokland*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose/Background: Biperiden is a muscarinic antagonist that produces memory impairments without impairing attention or motor functions in healthy subjects. It has been suggested that a biperiden-induced memory deficit could model age- and dementia-related memory impairments. The goal of the current study was to determine the dose- and time-dependent effects of biperiden on cognition in healthy volunteers.
Methods/Procedures: Twenty-one healthy volunteers participated in a placebo-controlled, 3-way, crossover study. After a baseline test, cognitive performance was tested at 3 time points after a single dose of biperiden 2 or 4 mg, or placebo. Episodic memory was measured using a 15-word verbal learning task (VLT). Furthermore, n-back tasks, a sustained attention to response task and a reaction time task were used, as well as subjective alertness and a side effects questionnaire. In addition, blood serum values and physiological measures were taken.
Findings/Results: Biperiden decreased the number of words recalled in immediate and delayed recall of the VLT 90 minutes after drug intake. A dose-dependent impairment was found for the delayed recall, whereas the immediate recall was equally impaired by the 2 doses. Biperiden did not affect the performance on the VLT 4 hours after administration. Performance in the n-back task and the sustained attention to response task were not affected by biperiden at any time point. Both doses were well tolerated as reported side effects were mild at Tmax and were minimal at the other time points.
Implications/Conclusions: Biperiden exerts effects on episodic memory without negatively affecting other cognitive performance and behavioral measures that were assessed in this study. The data provide further evidence that biperiden has selective effects on cognition, even after a high dose.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-37
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychopharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • acetylcholine
  • anticholinergic
  • biperidenm cognition
  • memory
  • DRUG

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