Please login to the form below

Not currently logged in
Email:
Password:

NICE favours treatment for mild Alzheimer's

New guidance states drugs can be prescribed for people presenting with mild Alzheimer's disease at diagnosis

Alzheimer's patients in England and Wales can now be prescribed treatment when presenting with mild stages of the disease. New guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) comes into effect today (March 23), marking a significant change to an earlier 2007 ruling which restricted access to medication for patients with moderate disease only.

The guidance recommends three Alzheimer's disease medications belonging to the class of drugs known as acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors, including donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine, as possible options for managing mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.

It follows draft guidance from NICE made in October 2010 outlining similar recommendations regarding the class of medicine. This draft guidance overturned a 2009 decision from NICE to stick with earlier guidance recommending against the use of the drugs in mild Alzheimer's disease cases following a judicial review brought against NICE in 2007 by Eisai and supported by Pfizer.

"This is a milestone for people with Alzheimer's disease, their families, carers and society as the new ruling means that crucial treatment can be given earlier thereby helping to reduce the impact of the disease at a much earlier stage," said Dr Craig Ritchie from the Department of Psychological Medicine, Imperial College London, honorary consultant and R&D director, West London Mental Health Trust.

The new guidance supports the Department of Health's National Dementia Strategy, which encourages the active management of Alzheimer's disease to minimise the burden of the condition on patients, their carers and society. In addition, the need for greater access to dementia-specific treatments is in line with the recent Alzheimer's Disease International report, which calls for governments to make dementia a higher health priority.

"This NICE guidance is a call to action for GPs to talk with all patients who were previously denied treatment at the early stages of this devastating disease. Early treatment at the first signs of the disease can work towards significantly improving their quality of life," added Dr Sarah Jarvis, a GP at Richford Gate Medical Practice.

Nick Burgin, UK managing director at Eisai, which developed the drug Aricept (donepezil), said: "We are delighted that patients with early disease will now finally have an opportunity to receive Alzheimer's treatments such as Aricept. Greater awareness is needed among GPs, patients and carers of the early treatment options now available to them which could lead to better outcomes for people with Alzheimer's."

Currently, there are around 820,000 people living with Alzheimer's and other dementias in the UK.

NICE has the full guidance on prescribing medicines for Alzheimer's disease.

23rd March 2011

From: Healthcare

Share

Featured jobs

Subscribe to our email news alerts

PMHub

Add my company
Conversis Medical

Conversis Medical is a translation company specialising in translation and localisation for the medical industry, particularly in clinical trial projects....

Latest intelligence

Big data, privacy and the rise of genomic testing
Blue Latitude Health speaks to Johan Christiaanse, Marketing Director at BGI, to find out how the medical profession can overcome one of the major barriers to precision medicine – big...
Deal Watch January 2018
...
Emotional Intelligence and Blended Learning in Healthcare
...

Infographics