Safety and tolerability of donepezil 23 mg in moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease

Department of Neurology, Indiana University School of Medicine, 541 Clinical Drive, CL299, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.
BMC Neurology (Impact Factor: 2.04). 05/2011; 11(1):57. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2377-11-57
Source: PubMed


Donepezil 23 mg/d, recently approved in the United States for treatment of moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease (AD), was developed to address the need for an additional treatment option for patients with advanced AD. This report, based on a pivotal phase 3 study, presents a detailed analysis of the safety and tolerability of increasing donepezil to 23 mg/d compared with continuing 10 mg/d.
Safety analyses comprised examination of the incidence, severity, and timing of treatment-emergent adverse events (AEs) and their relationship to treatment initiation; changes in weight, electrocardiogram, vital signs, and laboratory parameters; and the incidence of premature study discontinuation. The analysis population (n = 1434) included all randomized patients who took at least 1 dose of study drug and had a postbaseline safety assessment. To further examine the effect of transition from a lower to a higher donepezil dose, a pooled analysis of safety data from 2 phase 3 trials of donepezil 5 mg/d and 10 mg/d was also performed.
The safety population comprised 1434 patients: donepezil 23 mg/d (n = 963); donepezil 10 mg/d (n = 471); completion rates were 71.1% and 84.7%, respectively. The most common AEs were nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea (donepezil 23 mg/d: 11.8%, 9.2%, 8.3%; donepezil 10 mg/d: 3.4%, 2.5%, 5.3%, respectively). AEs that contributed most to early discontinuations were vomiting (2.9% of patients in the 23 mg/d group and 0.4% in the 10 mg/d group), nausea (1.9% and 0.4%), diarrhea (1.7% and 0.4%), and dizziness (1.1% and 0.0%). The percentages of patients with AEs in the 23 mg/d group, as well as the timing, type, and severity of these AEs, were similar to those seen in previous donepezil trials with titration from 5 to 10 mg/d. Serious AEs were uncommon (23 mg/d, 8.3%; 10 mg/d, 9.6%).
The 23 mg/d dose of donepezil was associated with typical cholinergic AEs, particularly gastrointestinal-related AEs, similar to those observed in studies with a dose increase from 5 to 10 mg/d.
The good safety and predictable tolerability profile for donepezil 23 mg/d supports its favorable risk/benefit ratio in patients with moderate to severe AD.

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Available from: Andrew Satlin, Jan 15, 2015
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    • "Donepezil at 10 mg/day improved the neuropsychiatric [23], cognitive [23, 26–28], and global functions [26–28], reducing therefore the caregiver burden [23]. Donepezil at 23 mg/day was found to be safe and tolerated in patients with moderate-to-severe AD [24, 25], but further studies are necessary for confirming its suitability in the severe stage of the disease. Both drugs are therefore indicated for the treatment of moderate AD and the choice between them should be based on their contraindications more than on disease severity. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Acetylcholinesterase (AChE)/cholinesterase (ChE) inhibitors (Is) and memantine are licensed for symptomatic treatment of mild-moderate and moderate-severe forms of Alzheimer's disease (AD), respectively. High doses of the AChE-I donepezil were licensed in the USA for moderate-severe AD, and the association AChE/ChE-Is plus memantine was proposed for AD at this stage. Objectives: This paper has reviewed evidence from clinical trials of the effectiveness of memantine, donepezil, or the two drugs in association in managing moderate-severe AD. Method: Double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trials (RCTs) using memantine or donepezil alone or in association versus placebo in moderate-severe AD were reviewed. Analysis done in January 2013 considered the years 2007-2012. Results and conclusion: Only 83 of the 941 papers selected were considered relevant, and only 13 met the criterion of "adequacy and representativeness." Memantine and donepezil lead to improvements in moderate-to-severe AD and the choice between the compounds should be based on their contraindications more than on disease severity. No evidence was found of advantages of the association of memantine-donepezil. The heterogeneity of conditions explored by RCTs, the relatively short time of observation (24-52 weeks), and the different cognitive assessment tools used did not allow comparing properly different trials.
    The Scientific World Journal 10/2013; 2013:925702. DOI:10.1155/2013/925702 · 1.73 Impact Factor
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    • "Donepezil, developed by those hypotheses , is a prescribed drug for AD (Birks et al., 2000). However, there are several issues to be overcome such as nausea, diarrhea, anorexia, or vomiting (Shintani and Uchida, 1997; Farlow et al., 2011). We are working on the development for anti-amnesic or anti-dementic agent using in vivo screening from herbal materials which are traditionally known to be active to the central nervous system (CNS). "
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    ABSTRACT: In the present study, we investigated the effect of ethanolic extract of the seed of Zizyphus jujuba var. spinosa (EEZS) on cholinergic blockade-induced memory impairment in mice. Male ICR mice were treated with EEZS. The behavioral tests were conducted using the passive avoidance, the Y-maze, and the Morris water maze tasks. EEZS (100 or 200 mg/kg, p.o.) significantly ameliorated the scopolamine-induced cognitive impairment in our present behavioral tasks without changes of locomotor activity. The ameliorating effect of EEZS on scopolamine-induced memory impairment was significantly reversed by a sub-effective dose of MK-801 (0.0125 mg/kg, s.c.). In addition, single administration of EEZS in normal naïve mouse enhanced latency time in the passive avoidance task. Western blot analysis was employed to confirm the mechanism of memory-ameliorating effect of EEZS. Administration of EEZS (200 mg/kg) increased the level of memory-related signaling molecules, including phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase or cAMP response element-binding protein in the hippocampal region. Also, the time-dependent expression level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor by the administration of EEZS was markedly increased from 3 to 9 h. These results suggest that EEZS has memory-ameliorating effect on scopolamine-induced cognitive impairment, which is mediated by the enhancement of the cholinergic neurotransmitter system, in part, via NMDA receptor signaling, and that EEZS would be useful agent against cognitive dysfunction such as Alzheimer's disease.
    Biomolecules and Therapeutics 07/2013; 21(4):299-306. DOI:10.4062/biomolther.2013.043 · 1.73 Impact Factor
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    • "Another important consideration in this population is the possibility that side effects may differ from those observed in the younger old. For example, one study recently reported on the safety and tolerability of donepezil at 10 mg versus 23 mg dose in a large cohort of older patients with dementia, including 116 patients aged 85 to 90 years [83]. They reported higher rates of diarrhea and urinary tract infections with increasing age regardless of dose. "
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    ABSTRACT: The population of oldest old, or people aged 85 and older, is growing rapidly. A better understanding of dementia in this population is thus of increasing national and global importance. In this review, we describe the major epidemiological studies, prevalence, clinical presentation, neuropathological and imaging features, risk factors, and treatment of dementia in the oldest old. Prevalence estimates for dementia among those aged 85+ ranges from 18 to 38%. The most common clinical syndromes are Alzheimer's dementia, vascular dementia, and mixed dementia from multiple etiologies. The rate of progression appears to be slower than in the younger old. Single neuropathological entities such as Alzheimer's dementia and Lewy body pathology appear to have declining relevance to cognitive decline, while mixed pathology with Alzheimer's disease, vascular disease (especially cortical microinfarcts), and hippocampal sclerosis appear to have increasing relevance. Neuroimaging data are sparse. Risk factors for dementia in the oldest old include a low level of education, poor mid-life general health, low level of physical activity, depression, and delirium, whereas apolipoprotein E genotype, late-life hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and elevated peripheral inflammatory markers appear to have less relevance. Treatment approaches require further study, but the oldest old may be more prone to negative side effects compared with younger patients and targeted therapies may be less efficacious since single pathologies are less frequent. We also highlight the limitations and challenges of research in this area, including the difficulty of defining functional decline, a necessary component for a dementia diagnosis, the lack of normative neuropsychological data, and other shortcomings inherent in existing diagnostic criteria. In summary, our understanding of dementia in the oldest old has advanced dramatically in recent years, but more research is needed, particularly among varied racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, and with respect to biomarkers such as neuroimaging, modifiable risk factors, and therapy.
    Alzheimer's Research and Therapy 07/2013; 5(4):27. DOI:10.1186/alzrt181 · 3.98 Impact Factor
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