Effects of Food and Drug Administration-approved medications for Alzheimers disease on clinical progression

Alzheimer's & Dementia, 05/17/2012

A low percentage of individuals with AD in the community are taking cholinesterase inhibitors or memantine. This study suggests that women, particularly those with an apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele, may benefit the most from these medications. With the newly approved increased dose of donepezil, it will be imperative to determine whether a higher dose is needed in men or whether other factors warrant consideration.

Methods

  • The Cache County Dementia Progression Study enrolled and followed a cohort of 327 incident AD cases for a maximum of 9 years.
  • Drug exposure was expressed using a persistency index (PI), calculated as total years of drug use divided by total years of observation. Linear mixed-effects models examined PI, and interactions with sex and apolipoprotein E (APOE) as predictors of clinical progression on the Mini-Mental State Examination and Clinical Dementia Rating-Sum of Boxes.

Results

  • A total of 69 participants (21.1%) reported having ever used cholinesterase inhibitors or memantine.
  • There was a strong three-way interaction between PI, sex, and time.
  • Among women, a higher PI (i.e., greater duration of use) of cholinesterase inhibitors was associated with slower progression on the Mini-Mental State Examination and Clinical Dementia Rating-Sum of Boxes, particularly among those with an APOE ε4 allele.
  • In contrast, higher PI was associated with faster progression in males.

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