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Reaching the population with dementia drugs: What are the challenges?

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Fiona MatthewsORCiD, Professor Ian McKeith, Professor John Bond, Professor Carol Brayne


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Background: Systematic evidence became available in the late 1990s on efficacy of cholinesterase inhibitors (CHEIs) for patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AI)) and they began to be used sporadically. Since January 2001 UK based guidelines indicated that one of three cholinesterase inhibitors (CHEIs) could be prescribed for these patients. Since then the cost of prescription in England and Wales has risen. There has been little investigation of uptake at the population level. Objective: To estimate the population uptake of CHEIs in a population based study of dementia spanning this period. Design: Using data from a 10-year follow up and a later 12 year interview of the Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Ageing Study (MRC CFAS), a UK population based longitudinal cohort study of people originally aged 65 years and above, we investigated who was taking CHEIs during the period 2001-2004. We sought information from respondents taking part in the study what medication they were taking on a regular basis. Results: Only 12, of the 219 individuals who received a study diagnosis of dementia were prescribed CHEIs [5%, 95% Confidence Intervals (CI) 3%-9%]) in 2001/2003 and none of the 28 individuals with a study diagnosis of dementia (0%, 95% CI 0-18%) in 2004 were prescribed CHEIs. Uptake was biased towards individuals with more education and higher social class. Conclusions: These data suggest that any impact on AD progression at the population level will be negligible as prescription of CHEIs and uptake in the age group at highest risk is so limited. There is little evidence that this has changed over time. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Matthews FE, McKeith I, Bond J, Brayne C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

Year: 2007

Volume: 22

Issue: 7

Pages: 627-631

ISSN (print): 0885-6230

ISSN (electronic): 1099-1166

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


DOI: 10.1002/gps.1720

PubMed id: 17136710


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Funder referenceFunder name
G9901400Medical Research Council
G9901400(69368)Medical Research Council
MC_U105292687Medical Research Council