Long-term progression of Alzheimer's disease in patients under antidementia drugs
Patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), even in the presence of symptomatic relief from medical intervention, face a persistent worsening of cognitive decline and performance in activities of daily living. Data regarding the long-term disease progression outside of therapeutic trials are lacking. We examined the effects of standard of care for AD patients on the prognosis of the disease in a real-life study over a 4-year period.
A total of 686 patients with mild-moderate AD were enrolled in 16 memory clinics (REseau sur la maladie d' Alzheimer FRançais [REAL.FR] cohort) and followed up twice annually with tools used in therapeutic trials (Mini-Mental Status Examination, Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale [ADAS-cog]: cognitive function, Clinical Dementia Rating: dementia severity, Activity of Daily Living [ADL]: incapacities, NeuroPsychiatric Inventory: neuropsychiatric symptom).
More than 90% of the patients used AD-specific medication over 4 years. Patients lost on average 2.4 points per year on the Mini-Mental Status Examination and gained 4.5 points on the ADAS-cog. ADL and NeuroPsychiatric Inventory scores became significantly worse over time. Incidence of incapacities for ADL and worsening of neuropsychiatric symptoms were 52.5 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 47.7-57.4) and 51.1 (95% CI: 46.2-56.1), respectively. Rates of mortality and institutionalization were 7.4 (95% CI: 6.2-8.5) and 13.4 (95% CI: 11.7-15.1). In all, 17% of patients in mild stage at baseline (Clinical Dementia Rating = 0.5) did not experience a major event (functional disabilities, neuropsychiatric symptoms, or death) over a 4-year period.
As compared with previous surveys, the current study shows slower rates of decline in AD patients. The present data also underline the high level of variability of disease progression among AD patients. Outcome measures commonly used in clinical trials will need to take into account the recent changes in the prognosis of the disease.
Available from: Chris G Parsons
- "In another recent clinical review Schmidtke et al. (2011) state that combination therapy with memantine and an AChEI should be implemented when the patient progresses from mild to moderate AD. This has been shown in a recent cohort study, in which 686 patients with mild to moderate AD from 16 specialised clinics in France were followed for 4 years (Gillette-Guyonnet et al. 2011). Whereas 89 % of patients were treated with AChEI monotherapy at baseline, 26 % used memantine/AChEI combination therapy by year 4. "
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ABSTRACT: This review describes the preclinical mechanisms that may underlie the increased therapeutic benefit of combination therapy-with the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist, memantine, and an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChEI)-for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Memantine, and the AChEIs target two different aspects of AD pathology. Both drug types have shown significant efficacy as monotherapies for the treatment of AD. Furthermore, clinical observations indicate that their complementary mechanisms offer superior benefit as combination therapy. Based on the available literature, the authors have considered the preclinical mechanisms that could underlie such a combined approach. Memantine addresses dysfunction in glutamatergic transmission, while the AChEIs serve to increase pathologically lowered levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. In addition, preclinical studies have shown that memantine has neuroprotective effects, acting to prevent glutamatergic over-stimulation and the resulting neurotoxicity. Interrelations between the glutamatergic and cholinergic pathways in regions of the brain that control learning and memory mean that combination treatment has the potential for a complex influence on disease pathology. Moreover, studies in animal models have shown that the combined use of memantine and the AChEIs can produce greater improvements in measures of memory than either treatment alone. As an effective approach in the clinical setting, combination therapy with memantine and an AChEI has been a welcome advance for the treatment of patients with AD. Preclinical data have shown how these drugs act via two different, but interconnected, pathological pathways, and that their complementary activity may produce greater effects than either drug individually.
Available from: David Wilkinson
- "The latter observation is further supported by Rountree and colleagues who found that benefits of treatment with a ChEI and/or memantine significantly increased with treatment persistence and were observable across multiple symptom domains and stages of disease, including moderate and severe AD . Finally, the recent REAL.FR cohort study, which followed 686 patients with mild to moderate AD in 16 specialised memory clinics in France (89% used ChEI monotherapy at baseline, 26% used ChEI and memantine combination therapy by year 4), reported significantly less decline in this cohort over 4 years compared to untreated historical cohorts . "
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Memantine and cholinesterase inhibitors potentially offer additional benefits in Alzheimer's disease (AD) when used together. This study assessed the efficacy and safety of combination treatment with memantine added to stable donepezil in patients with moderate to severe AD, and in a subset with moderate AD.
Post hoc meta-analyses of data combined from two 24-week, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of memantine 20 mg/day versus placebo, added to a stable cholinesterase inhibitor, were conducted. Data were included for all patients receiving donepezil 10 mg/day with Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores < 20 (n = 510). Efficacy was assessed using measures of cognition, function, and global status. Furthermore, marked clinical worsening, defined as concurrent deterioration from baseline in the three main efficacy domains, and safety, measured by treatment-emergent adverse events, were assessed. Analyses were performed for patients with moderate to severe AD (MMSE 5-19; MOD-SEV subgroup), and also for patients with moderate AD (MMSE 10-19; MOD subgroup; n = 367).
At week 24, in the MOD-SEV subgroup, patients receiving memantine added to donepezil significantly outperformed those receiving placebo added to donepezil in measures of cognition (P < 0.0001), function (P = 0.02), and global status (P = 0.010), with standardised mean differences (SMDs) of 0.36, 0.21, and 0.23, respectively (all last observation carried forward). Similarly, in the MOD subgroup, significant benefits were observed for cognition (P = 0.008), function (P = 0.04) and global status (P = 0.008), with SMDs of 0.28, 0.21, and 0.28, respectively. Significantly fewer patients receiving memantine added to donepezil showed marked clinical worsening than those receiving placebo added to donepezil, in both subgroups (MOD-SEV: 8.7% versus 20.4%, P = 0.0002; MOD: 5.9% versus 15.0%, P = 0.006). The incidence of adverse events was similar between treatment groups.
These results support and extend previous evidence that combination treatment with memantine added to stable donepezil in patients with moderate AD, and in those with moderate to severe AD, is associated with significant benefits in reducing 24-week decline in cognition, function and global status. Combination treatment produces substantially reduced rates of marked clinical worsening, has good safety and tolerability, and generates effect sizes that are both statistically significant and clinically meaningful.
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ABSTRACT: The formation of the first Gerontopole in Toulouse was a response to a mission letter sent by French Ministers of Health on February 2007. The mission of the Toulouse Gerontopole is based around three major axes: 1) To facilitate the access of frail elderly people to innovative therapy and clinical research: the Gérontopôle set up the national network for clinical investigation into Alzheimer's disease (AD) funded through the CeNGEPS (National Centre For Management of Trials on Health Products) calls for proposals since July 2008. In addition, the Gérontopôle coordinates several national clinical trials with promising drugs with potential effect on the mechanisms and evolution of AD and actively participates in studies on biomarkers; 2) To develop health promotion actions and prevention trials for healthy elderly people, through the Institute of Aging: the Gérontopôle has implemented the GuidAge (Phase III trial concerning the efficiency of Ginkgo Biloba on the impact and delay of appearance of an Alzheimer type dementia) and MAPT (Multi-domain Alzheimer Preventive Trial) studies on prevention of AD and cognitive decline. It is curently working on the new generation of preventive trials based on biomarkers; 3) To develop clinical research for dependant elderly people, through the implementation of the REHPA research network including 240 nursing homes in France. In December 2009, additional grants were delivered by the French government to extend the three research axes for two more years, and establish a charter of quality for geriatric care in relation with the administration and relevant agencies.
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