Canadian Alzheimer Society responds to donepezil study

A study on the effects of donepezil on people with mild to moderate Alzheimer Disease entitled Long-term donepezil treatment in 565 patients with Alzheimer's Disease(AD2000): randomised double-blind trial appears in the June 26, 2004 issue of The Lancet.

In response to the study, Dr. Jack Diamond, Scientific Director of the Alzheimer Society of Canada, states: "The experience and observations of many clinicians and caregivers over the last few years and the basic science theory behind donepezil (Aricept) and other cholinesterase inhibitors have testified to the apparent effectiveness of these drugs, particularly in the earlier stages of the disease. More studies and especially full scale clinical trials are needed before abandoning a therapeutic approach that is still supported by many people with the disease, clinicians and caregivers alike."

In Canada, the Canadian Consensus Conference on Dementia Guidelines state that while a cure would be the ideal goal, reasonable treatment goals include halting or slowing the disease, improving memory, maintaining function, improving mood and quality of life for the person and the caregiver. Earlier clinical studies have concluded that Aricept and other cholinesterase inhibitors (Exelon, Reminyl) meet these goals in some individuals and are deemed safe and effective by Health Canada.

The Alzheimer Society of Canada believes it is important that all treatment options deemed safe and effective by Health Canada be available and accessible to all those who might benefit from them. The Society is in support of treatments that enhance the quality of life of those with the disease and their caregivers.

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