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Continuing donepezil when Alzheimer symptoms worsen might delay nursing home admission, study indicates

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 27 October 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h5739
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

Taking patients with Alzheimer’s disease off donepezil, a drug costing little more than £20 (€28; $30) a year, seems to double the chance that they will go into a nursing home within a year, a study published in Lancet Neurology indicates.1

But experts have criticised the study for being based on secondary outcomes and for its small numbers of participants.

Donepezil is indicated for the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease and is usually withdrawn when a patient’s cognitive symptoms worsen.

Researchers at University College London monitored the effects of continuing or discontinuing the drug in a group of 295 patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease for whom donepezil had been prescribed continuously for at least three months, at a dose of 10 mg for at least the previous six weeks, and who …

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