Treatment for mild cognitive impairment: Systematic review

Claudia Cooper, Ryan Li, Constantine Lyketsos, Gill Livingston

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background More people are presenting with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), frequently a precursor to dementia, but we do not know how to reduce deterioration. Aims To systematically review randomised controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating the effects of any intervention for MCI on cognitive, neuropsychiatric, functional, global outcomes, life quality or incident dementia. Method We reviewed 41 studies fitting predetermined criteria, assessed validity using a checklist, calculated standardized outcomes and prioritised primary outcome findings in placebo-controlled studies. Results The strongest evidence was that cholinesterase inhibitors did not reduce incident dementia. Cognition improved in single trials of: a heterogeneous psychological group intervention over 6 months; piribedil, a dopamine agonist over 3 months; and donepezil over 48 weeks. Nicotine improved attention over 6 months. There was equivocal evidence that Huannao Yicong improved cognition and social functioning. Conclusions There was no replicated evidence that any intervention was effective. Cholinesterase inhibitors and rofecoxib are ineffective in preventing dementia. Further good-quality RCTs are needed and preliminary evidence suggests these should include trials of psychological group interventions and piribedil. Declarations of interest C.L. has received grant support (research or continuing medical education) from NIMH, NIA, Associated Jewish Federation of Baltimore, Weinberg Foundation, Forest, GlaxoSmithKline, Eisai, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Lilly, Ortho-McNeil, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novartis, National Football League (NFL), Elan, Functional Neuromodulation; and has been a consultant/advisor to AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Eisai, Novartis, Forest, Supernus, Adlyfe, Takeda, Wyeth, Lundbeck, Merz, Lilly, Pfizer, Genentech, Elan, NFL Players Association, NFL Benefits Office, Avanir, Zinfandel, Bristol-Myers Squibb; and received honorarium or travel support from Pfizer, Forest, GlaxoSmithKline, Health Monitor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-264
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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