Functional response to cholinesterase inhibitor therapy in a naturalistic Alzheimer’s disease cohort
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BMC Neurology 2012, 12:134 doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-134Published: 5 November 2012
Activities of daily living (ADL) are an essential part of the diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). A decline in ADL affects independent living and has a strong negative impact on caregiver burden. Functional response to cholinesterase inhibitor (ChEI) treatment and factors that might influence this response in naturalistic AD patients need investigating. The aim of this study was to identify the socio-demographic and clinical factors that affect the functional response after 6 months of ChEI therapy.
This prospective, non-randomised, multicentre study in a routine clinical setting included 784 AD patients treated with donepezil, rivastigmine or galantamine. At baseline and after 6 months of treatment, patients were assessed using several rating scales, including the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) scale, Physical Self-Maintenance Scale (PSMS) and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Demographic and clinical characteristics were investigated at baseline. The functional response and the relationships of potential predictors were analysed using general linear models.
After 6 months of ChEI treatment, 49% and 74% of patients showed improvement/no change in IADL and in PSMS score, respectively. The improved/unchanged patients exhibited better cognitive status at baseline; regarding improved/unchanged PSMS, patients were younger and used fewer anti-depressants. A more positive functional response to ChEI was observed in younger individuals or among those having the interaction effect of better preserved cognition and lower ADL ability. Patients with fewer concomitant medications or those using NSAIDs/acetylsalicylic acid showed a better PSMS response.
Critical characteristics that may influence the functional response to ChEI in AD were identified. Some predictors differed from those previously shown to affect cognitive response, e.g., lower cognitive ability and older age predicted better cognitive but worse functional response.