Donepezil, a medication used to treat mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease, can also benefit patients in the more severe stages of the condition, according to research results published in the British medical journal The Lancet. The study, conducted by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, found that donepezil showed effectiveness in Alzheimer's patients when compared to a placebo.
The trial recruited 194 Alzheimer's patients over 50 years of age from 50 nursing homes in Sweden. It assigned 95 patients to treatment with donepezil and 99 to placebo, and monitored them for six months. Those who were given donepezil had improved cognition, and were more able to carry out daily activities than those who were given placebo.
"Donepezil slows, and can reverse, some aspects of deterioration of cognition and function in individuals with severe Ahlzheimer's who live in nursing homes," noted Bengt Winblad, lead researcher in the study. "If treatment can help patients in the late phase of dementia, without necessarily increasing the length of time they have severe Alzheimer's disease, then this is a treatment option that should be available.