Donepezil in Alzheimer's disease: eighteen month results from Southampton Memory Clinic.Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2000; 15(8):713-20IJ
The objective of this study was to assess the efficacy of donepezil in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD) in clinical practice. This was an open-label study in which patients were referred to an elderly mental health clinic in Southampton, UK. Eighty patients with mild to moderate AD received 5 mg/day donepezil for the first 4 weeks, after which, if tolerated, the dose was increased to 10 mg/day. Efficacy and safety assessments were carried out every 3 months. Efficacy was assessed by the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale (ADAS-cog), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), Neuropsychiatric Inventory-carer Distress Scale (NPI-D). Mean improvements from baseline were observed at the 3-month assessment on all four efficacy measures. At 3 months, 39% of patients showed an improvement of at least 4 points on the ADAS-cog, and 37% of patients had improved by 4 points or more on the NPI. In those patients who showed improvement and were maintained on donepezil, improvements were sustained for 18 months on the MMSE and NPI, 15 months on the NPI-D, and for 6 months on the ADAS-cog. Six per cent of patients discontinued medication due to adverse events. In a typical clinical practice setting, patients with mild to moderate AD tolerated donepezil well. Clinically meaningful improvements in cognitive function and a reduction in neuropsychiatric symptoms were demonstrated in nearly 40% of patients with associated reduction in carer distress. Continued benefit was seen for up to 18 months in the selected group of patients who initially responded in treatment.