Ineffective Alzheimer’s Treatment

Unfortunately, it appears that Aricept 23 mg is an ineffective Alzheimer’s treatment. When it comes to memory improvement and Alzheimer’s treatment options, family members and caregivers often reach out to the newest hope — medication that will stop or even reverse the effects of this devastating disease. Whether or not they actually improve memory is hard to measure. However, some can have negative side effects.

ineffective Alzheimer's treatment may also have gastrointestinal side effects

ineffective Alzheimer's treatment may also have gastrointestinal side effects

Drs. Steven Woloshin and Lisa Schwartz of Dartmouth Medical College are authors of a report that describes the negative side effects of  Aricept 23 mg.

Ineffective Alzheimer’s Treatment

The drug, Aricept 23 mg, is no more effective on the whole than the disappointing ones already on the market — but is more likely to cause gastrointestinal problems, wrote Drs. Steven Woloshin and Lisa Schwartz of Dartmouth Medical College in an article published Thursday in the medical journal BMJ.

The article in the LA Times goes on to describe the study.

In a trial involving 1,400 patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s, the 23-milligram dose of Aricept resulted in a small but statistically significant improvement in an index of overall cognition. But on a second measure, of “global functioning” — changes in behavior that a caregiver or physician is likely to notice — it failed to yield the improvements that the FDA had set as a condition of approval.

At the same time, subjects taking the 23-milligram dose, when compared with those taking 10 milligrams, reported significantly more nausea and vomiting — described by the director of the FDA’s neurological drug division as “not trivial.” In patients with dementia, nausea and vomiting can lead to pneumonia and death.

Dr. Lon Schneider, a USC Alzheimer’s disease expert, said there had been widespread interest in whether a 23-milligram dose might help the minority of Alzheimer’s patients taking two 10-milligram pills daily. Physicians, he said, hoped that one higher-dose pill would not only improve patients’ dementia symptoms, but also release more slowly into the bloodstream, causing less stomach upset.

Dementia is a sad enough disease without making it physically worse for the sufferer and the caregivers. I’ve watched the decline of several family members, and my opinion was not to do anything that made the overall quality of life worse.

What has been your experience with family members and  ineffective Alzheimer’s treatment? Share your comments below.