Older news items (pre-2010) brought over from the old website
Drugs used to treat Alzheimer's in nursing homes are worsening sufferers' illness
A study of 93 patients with dementia has found that quetiapine, an anti-psychotic drug commonly used in nursing homes to treat agitation and related symptoms in people with Alzheimers' disease, actually worsens patients' illness, significantly speeding up their rate of cognitive decline. Unfortunately, quetiapine had been regarded as one of the safer of the antipsychotic drugs available. There have been safety concerns with the two most commonly used antipsychotic drugs in people with dementia, risperidone and olanzapine, because of increased risk of stroke. Participants in the trial who were taking rivastigmine showed little or no worsening of their illness. Neither drug had any effect on agitation.
Ballard, C. et al. 2005. Quetiapine and rivastigmine and cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease: Randomised double blind placebo controlled trial. British Medical Journal, 330, 874-7.
Exelon more effective than thought
Exelon ® (rivastigmine tartrate) is one of the drugs used to treat the symptoms of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s. A new study suggests that the effects of Exelon might be more significant than was thought — it may be able to delay progression of the disease. The study found that 26 weeks after discontinuing treatment , those who had been on Exelon showed less cognitive decline than patients who had previously taken a placebo.
Farlow, M., Potkin, S., Koumaras, B., Veach, J. & Mirski, D. 2003. Analysis of Outcome in Retrieved Dropout Patients in a Rivastigmine vs Placebo, 26-Week, Alzheimer Disease Trial. Archives of Neurology, 60, 843-848.
Exelon found to reduce cognitive decline in mild to moderate Alzheimer's patients
A one-year study found rivastigmine tartrate (Exelon®) reduces the cognitive decline of people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. 545 patients completed the initial six-month phase of the trial and 532 then agreed to extend the trial another six months. Patients who received the higher dose of rivastigmine from the beginning had higher cognitive scores at the end than those patients who received a placebo or the lower dose during the first six months. This suggests early treatment with a high dose may provide benefits that are lost if treatment is delayed.
Farlow, M., Anand, R., Messina Jr, J., Hartman, R., & Veach, J. (2000). A 52-Week Study of the Efficacy of Rivastigmine in Patients with Mild to Moderately Severe Alzheimer’s Disease. European Neurology, 44(4), 236–241. doi:10.1159/000008243