Measuring Apathy in Alzheimer's Disease in the Apathy in Dementia Methylphenidate Trial 2 (ADMET 2): A Comparison of Instruments

Krista L. Lanctôt, Roberta W. Scherer, Abby Li, Danielle Vieira, Hamadou Coulibaly, Paul B. Rosenberg, Nathan Herrmann, Alan J. Lerner, Prasad R. Padala, Olga Brawman-Mintzer, Chris H. van Dyck, Anton P. Porsteinsson, Suzanne Craft, Allan Levey, William J. Burke, Jacobo E. Mintzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Diagnostic criteria for apathy have been published but have yet to be evaluated in the context of clinical trials. The Apathy in Dementia Methylphenidate Trial 2 (ADMET 2) operationalized the diagnostic criteria for apathy (DCA) into a clinician-rated questionnaire informed by interviews with the patient and caregiver. Objective: The goal of the present study was to compare the classification of apathy using the DCA with that using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory-apathy (NPI-apathy) subscale in ADMET 2. Comparisons between NPI-Apathy and Dementia Apathy Interview Rating (DAIR) scale, and DCA and DAIR were also explored. Methods: ADMET 2 is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase III trial examining the effects of 20 mg/day methylphenidate on symptoms of apathy over 6 months in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD). Participants scoring at least 4 on the NPI-Apathy were recruited. This analysis focuses on cross-sectional correlations between baseline apathy scale scores using cross-tabulation. Results: Of 180 participants, the median age was 76.5 years and they were predominantly white (92.8%) and male (66.1%). The mean (±standard deviation) scores were 7.7 ± 2.4 on the NPI-apathy, and 1.9 ± 0.5 on the DAIR. Of those with NPI-defined apathy, 169 (93.9%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 89.3%–96.9%) met DCA diagnostic criteria. The DCA and DAIR overlapped on apathy diagnosis for 169 participants (93.9%, 95% CI 89.3%–96.9%). Conclusion: The measurements used for the assessment of apathy in patients with AD had a high degree of overlap with the DCA. The NPI-apathy cut-off used to determine apathy in ADMET 2 selects those likely to meet DCA criteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-89
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • apathy
  • dementia
  • diagnostic criteria
  • methylphenidate
  • neuropsychiatric inventory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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