Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Alzheimer's drug rules relaxed

  • Comment

A change in policy by the health watchdog could see hundreds of thousands of Alzheimer’s sufferers in England and Wales get access to drugs which were previously denied to them.

Previous rulings by NICE decreed that only people in moderate stages of the disease were eligible for key medicines, meaning patients in the early stages were unable to get them.

However, new guidance now means Aricept (donepezil), Reminyl (galantamine) and Exelon (rivastigmine) will be available to moderate and mild sufferers, potentially benefiting hundreds of thousands of patients.

The ruling, which is subject to appeal, also recommends the use of Ebixa (memantine) for severe disease and for some patients with moderate disease. Previously, it was only on offer to patients as part of a clinical trial.

The drugs, which cost around £2.80 a day, do not offer a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. But they have been shown to improve everyday functioning, including improving the ability to pay attention and plan.

Nice’s chief executive, Sir Andrew Dillon said: “Since we published our guidance in September 2007 clinical trials have continued to show the positive effects of these drugs and, in the case of memantine, have reduced the uncertainty about its clinical effectiveness.

“In addition, we now have more information about the costs of living with and treating this very distressing disease, as it progresses through its mild, moderate and severe stages.”

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.