Effects of galantamine in patients
with mild Alzheimer's disease

Orgogozo JM, Small GW, Hammond G,
Van Baelen B, Schwalen S.
Universite de Bordeaux 2 - Hopital Pellegrin,
Bordeaux, France.
Curr Med Res Opin. 2004 Nov;20(11):1815-20


BACKGROUND: Galantamine is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor that modulates nicotinic receptors. It is effective in mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD) but no trial has focused exclusively on mild AD. We performed a post-hoc sub-set analysis using data from four randomised trials to explore the efficacy of galantamine versus placebo in mild AD. METHODS: Participants in all studies met NINCDS-ADRDA criteria for probable AD. We examined data from patients with baseline Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) 21-24 who received galantamine 24 mg/day (GAL) or placebo (PLAC). Scores for the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subset (ADAS-cog), Clinician's Interview-Based Impression of Change (CIBIC), Disability Assessment for Dementia (DAD), and ACDS-ADL scales were compared. RESULTS: Of the 694 patients (362 GAL, 332 PLAC, mean baseline MMSE 22.4 +/- 1.1, mean age 74 +/- 7.9 years), 65% completed 6 months treatment (223 GAL, 229 PLAC). Mean change in ADAS-cog at 6 months was -1.5 (95% confidence interval -2.2, -0.8, p < 0.001) for GAL and + 0.2 (-0.6, 0.9, p = 0.72) for PLAC. This difference was statistically significant (p = 0.001). Significantly more patients receiving galantamine were classified as 'improved' using the CIBIC (26.9% GAL vs 14.3% PLAC, p < 0.001). Galantamine was generally well tolerated; most common adverse events were nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. CONCLUSIONS: Pooled data from four randomised trials of patients with mild AD indicate that patients who received galantamine 24 mg/day for 6 months improved cognition more often than those who received placebo and that a higher proportion receiving galantamine were globally improved. This suggests that patients with mild AD benefit from galantamine treatment.

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