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"As patients progress to more sever forms of Alzheimer's disease, clinicians are faced with a difficult decision as to whether to continue or not with demtia drugs and, until now, there has been little evidence to guide that decision. For the first time, we have robust and compelling evident that treatment with these drugs can continue to help patients at the later, more severe stages of the disease."
"'We observed that patients who continued taking donepezil were better able to remember, understand, communicate and perform daily tasks for at least a year longer than those who stopped taking the drugs. These improvements were noticeable to patients, their caregivers and doctors. Both donepezil and memantine will soon be off patent and available in very cheap generic preparations. These findings will greatly increase the numbers of patients in the developed and developing world that we are able to treat."
"Thanks to the Alzheimer's drug donepezil, tens of thousands of people in the early to moderate stages of the condition are able to recognise their family for longer, play with their grandchildren and make vital plans for the future. This major new trial now shows that there could also be significant benefits on continuing the treatment into the later stages too. There are 750,000 people with dementia in the UK yet currently prescription levels of Alzheimer's drugs are still low. If this is to change we have to improve the shocking diagnosis rates and ensure everyone is given the opportunity to try treatments."
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Not to be reproduced without the permission of Medical News Today.
"Donepezil and Memantine for Moderate-to-Severe Alzheimer's Disease"
Robert Howard, M.D., Rupert McShane, F.R.C.Psych., James Lindesay, D.M.et.al.,
New England Journal Of Medicine, March 2012, dpi:366:893-903
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