Effects of Food and Drug Administration-approved medications for Alzheimer's disease on clinical progression

Michelle M. Mielke, Jeannie Marie Leoutsakos, Chris D. Corcoran, Robert C. Green, Maria C. Norton, Kathleen A. Welsh-Bohmer, Joann T. Tschanz, Constantine G. Lyketsos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Observational studies suggest that cholinesterase inhibitors and/or memantine may delay clinical progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in 40% of individuals taking the medications. Given this response and existence of side effects, we sought to quantify medication use and benefits in a population-based study of incident AD cases. Methods: The Cache County Dementia Progression Study enrolled and followed a cohort of 327 incident AD cases for a maximum of 9 years. Drug exposure was expressed using a persistency index (PI), calculated as total years of drug use divided by total years of observation. Linear mixed-effects models examined PI, and interactions with sex and apolipoprotein E (APOE) as predictors of clinical progression on the Mini-Mental State Examination and Clinical Dementia Rating-Sum of Boxes. Results: A total of 69 participants (21.1%) reported having ever used cholinesterase inhibitors or memantine. There was a strong three-way interaction between PI, sex, and time. Among women, a higher PI (i.e., greater duration of use) of cholinesterase inhibitors was associated with slower progression on the Mini-Mental State Examination and Clinical Dementia Rating-Sum of Boxes, particularly among those with an APOE ε4 allele. In contrast, higher PI was associated with faster progression in males. Conclusion: A low percentage of individuals with AD in the community are taking cholinesterase inhibitors or memantine. This study suggests that women, particularly those with an APOE ε4 allele, may benefit the most from these medications. With the newly approved increased dose of donepezil, it will be imperative to determine whether a higher dose is needed in men or whether other factors warrant consideration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-187
Number of pages8
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2012

Keywords

  • APOE
  • Cholinesterase inhibitor
  • Disease progression
  • Incident Alzheimer's disease
  • Memantine
  • Population-based
  • Sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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