Original Article

Neuropsychopharmacology (2007) 32, 1272–1283. doi:10.1038/sj.npp.1301257; published online 22 November 2006

Acute Effects of the Ampakine Farampator on Memory and Information Processing in Healthy Elderly Volunteers

Elke Wezenberg1, Robert Jan Verkes2, Ge S F Ruigt3, Wouter Hulstijn4 and Bernard G C Sabbe5

  1. 1Department of Psychiatry (966), Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Psychiatry (963), Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  3. 3Clinical Research CNS, NV Organon, (XW3113), Oss, The Netherlands
  4. 4Institute for Cognition and Information (NICI), Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  5. 5Collaborative Antwerp Psychiatric Research Institute (CAPRI), University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, Antwerp (Wilrijk), Belgium

Correspondence: Dr E Wezenberg, Department of Psychiatry (966), Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, Tel: +31 24 3656426; Fax: +31 24 3540561; E-mail: E.Wezenberg@psy.umcn.nl

Received 1 December 2005; Revised 18 September 2006; Accepted 2 October 2006; Published online 22 November 2006.



Ampakines act as positive allosteric modulators of AMPA-type glutamate receptors and facilitate hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP), a mechanism associated with memory storage and consolidation. The present study investigated the acute effects of farampator, 1-(benzofurazan-5-ylcarbonyl) piperidine, on memory and information processes in healthy elderly volunteers. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, cross-over study was performed in 16 healthy, elderly volunteers (eight male, eight female; mean age 66.1, SD 4.5 years). All subjects received farampator (500 mg) and placebo. Testing took place 1 h after drug intake, which was around Tmax for farampator. Subjects performed tasks assessing episodic memory (wordlist learning and picture memory), working and short-term memory (N-back, symbol recall) and motor learning (maze task, pursuit rotor). Information processing was assessed with a tangled lines task, the symbol digit substitution test (SDST) and the continuous trail making test (CTMT). Farampator (500 mg) unequivocally improved short-term memory but appeared to impair episodic memory. Furthermore, it tended to decrease the number of switching errors in the CTMT. Drug-induced side effects (SEs) included headache, somnolence and nausea. Subjects with SEs had significantly higher plasma levels of farampator than subjects without SEs. Additional analyses revealed that in the farampator condition the group without SEs showed a significantly superior memory performance relative to the group with SEs. The positive results on short-term memory and the favorable trends in the trail making test (CTMT) are interesting in view of the development of ampakines in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia.


ampakine, memory, information processing, elderly healthy volunteers, schizophrenia

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