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Donepezil (Aricept) Equals Placebo at Calming Agitation of Alzheimer's

(PSYCHIATRIC TIMES) - MedPage Today Action Points

o Explain to patients that agitation is a common symptom of Alzheimer's disease, and that cholinesterase inhibitors such as donepezil (Aricept) may reduce the rate of cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer's disease, but do not appear to reduce agitation any better than placebo.

LONDON, Oct. 4 -- For treating agitation in Alzheimer's disease, the cholinesterase inhibitor donepezil (Aricept) was no better than placebo, found a multicenter study.

After a 12-week trial, Alzheimer's patients with clinically significant agitation given 10 mg of donepezil daily had no significant difference in agitation symptoms compared with patients taking placebo, reported Robert J. Howard, M.R.C.Psych., of Kings College London, and colleagues.

"Although previous trials have indicated that cholinesterase-inhibitor therapy results in modest but significant improvement in the overall severity of neuropsychiatric symptoms in patients with mild levels of behavioral disturbance, this may be explained by improvements in symptoms other than agitation," the investigators wrote in the Oct. 4 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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