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Groups Issue New Dementia Drug Guidelines
Date:3/4/2008

e progression, they don't cure dementia or repair brain damage.

"Doctors, patients and family caregivers desperately want information on how to treat this disease," Dr. Amir Qaseem, senior medical associate in the ACP's Clinical Programs and Quality of Care Department, said in a prepared statement. "It is disheartening to find that all we have to work with is these five drugs, and the evidence on these is scant. Consider that in 50 years, one in 45 Americans will suffer from Alzheimer's disease. This is a huge problem."

Most of existing studies of the five approved dementia drugs focused on statistical significance of changes, but clinically important improvement is what matters to patients, caregivers and doctors, the committee noted.

"More research is warranted, because the available evidence concerning these pharmaceuticals' effects on quality of life is mixed, and the clinical significance of many of the findings is questionable," Dr. Kenneth G. Schellhase, an AAFP representative on the committee, said in a prepared statement. "In addition, the duration of existing trials was usually less than one year, providing insufficient information to determine the optimal length of treatment, and few trials compare one drug directly with another."

More information

The Family Caregiver Alliance has more about dementia.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: Annals of Internal Medicine, news release, March 3, 2008


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