leads to U-turn on Alzheimer drugs
by Mike George
vociferous campaign by patients, carers and pharmaceutical firms
has led to the NHS’s drugs advisory body making a U-turn on
whether certain Alzheimer drugs should be prescribed.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) announced
today that it is changing its views on three drugs - donepezil,
galantamine and rivastigmine - for Alzheimer's.
NICE first ruled, in 2001, that the three drugs should be used throughout
it revisited its view and issued draft guidance that it considered
the drugs were not effective enough, considering their cost.
After the drug manufacturers appealed they were invited by NICE
to submit evidence from their trials on which groups of patients
were likely to benefit most.
And today, NICE says that it has been convinced that patients with
moderate Alzheimer's can benefit, but not those in the early or
late stages of the disease.
Andrew Dillon, chief executive of NICE, said: "We needed to
make the right decision, based on all the relevant evidence.
going the extra mile and asking the drug companies to delve deeper
into their clinical trial data, we have been able to identify the
right way to use these medicines."
The new draft guidance on the treatment for dementia now goes out
to consultation, and will be formally issued later in the year.
Nice remains unconvinced that a fourth drug, memantine, aimed at
the later stages of Alzheimer's, will sufficiently help patients.
for issuing guidance on dementia
7, 2005: Psychiatrists oppose NICE plans to end prescribing of Alzheimer
drugs - NICE also releases for second consultation its clinical
guidelines for depression in children, and its guidelines for obsessive
compulsive disorder for first consultation
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