More analyses needed to assess clinical implications of new data
People with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) taking the drug donepezil were at reduced risk of progressing to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) for the first 18 months of a 3-year study when compared with their counterparts on placebo, according to a presentation of preliminary data from a recently completed clinical trial supported by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health. The reduced risk of progressing from MCI to a diagnosis of AD among participants on donepezil disappeared after 18 months, and by the end of the study, the probability of progressing to AD was the same in the two groups.
The study compared donepezil, vitamin E, or placebo in participants with MCI to see whether the drugs might delay or prevent progression to AD. Over the course of the study, among people who did progress to AD, the MCI participants on donepezil averaged 661 days until a diagnosis of AD, a second group on vitamin E averaged 540 days from MCI to AD, and those on placebo averaged 484 days to AD. The study investigators reported a statistically significant effect when donepezil was compared to placebo, but said there was no apparent benefit from vitamin E.
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