NICE amends Alzheimer's guidance

Treatments for Alzheimer's disease can now be prescribed on the NHS for a broader range of patients.

Previous NICE guidance restricted medication access to patients with moderate disease | SPL
Previous NICE guidance restricted medication access to patients with moderate disease | SPL

The acetylcholinesterase inhibitors donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Reminyl) and rivastigmine (Exelon) are now recommended by NICE as options for managing mild as well as moderate Alzheimer’s disease. The NMDA antagonist memantine (Ebixa) is recommended as an option for patients with moderate Alzheimer’s disease who cannot take acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, and as an option for severe Alzheimer’s disease.

Treatment should be initiated and reviewed regularly by a specialist and continued only if it improves cognitive, global, functional or behavioural symptoms.

The decision to expand NHS reimbursement of these agents took into account growing clinical evidence of their benefit and accumulating information about the costs of Alzheimer’s disease, said NICE.

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