Alzheimer’s drugs to be made available to all

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) released its final guidance on four Alzheimer’s drugs.

The updated guidance extends previous recommendations for the use of three drugs – Donepezil (Aricept, Eisai/Pfizer), galantamine (Reminyl, Shire) and rivastigmine (Exelon, Novartis) – to include mild, as well as moderate Alzheimer’s disease. It also recommends the use of memantine (Ebixa, Lundbeck) for severe disease and for some patients with moderate disease.

This new appraisal reviews recommendations made in Technology Appraisal 111 published in September 2007. Because this is final, published guidance, the NHS now has a legal obligation to provide funding for this treatment within three months so that eligible patients can begin receiving these drugs.

Chief Executive, Sir Andrew Dillon said:

“These updated recommendations have now been issued to the NHS, this means that donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine will be made available to people with both mild as well as moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Memantine will also be available to those with moderate or severe Alzheimer’s. We are pleased to be able to extend the recommendations made in 2007 – clinical trials have continued to show the positive effects of these drugs and, in the case of memantine, have reduced the uncertainty about its clinical effectiveness. We also have more information about the costs of living with and treating the disease, as it progresses through its mild, moderate and severe stages.”

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