Patients with Alzheimer's disease after an initial response to cholinesterase inhibitors may complain a later lack of efficacy. This, in association with incident neuropsychiatric symptoms, may worsen patient quality of life. Thus, the switch to another cholinesterase inhibitor could represent a valid therapeutic strategy. The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of the switch from one to another cholinesterase inhibitor on cognitive and affective symptoms in mild to moderate Alzheimer disease patients. Four hundred twenty-three subjects were included from the EVOLUTION study, an observational, longitudinal, multicentre study conducted on Alzheimer disease patients who switched to different cholinesterase inhibitor due either to lack/loss of efficacy or response, reduced tolerability or poor compliance. All patients underwent cognitive and neuropsychiatric assessments, carried out before the switch (baseline), and at 3 and 6-month follow-up. A significant effect of the different switch types was found on Mini-Mental State Examination score during time, with best effectiveness on mild Alzheimer's disease patients switching from oral cholinesterase inhibitors to rivastigmine patch. Depressive symptoms, when measured using continuous Neuropsychiatric Inventory values, decreased significantly, while apathy symptoms remained stable over the 6 months after the switch. However, frequency of both depression and apathy, when measured categorically using Neuropsychiatric Inventory cut-off scores, did not change significantly during time. In mild to moderate Alzheimer disease patients with loss of efficacy and tolerability during cholinesterase inhibitor treatment, the switch to another cholinesterase inhibitor may represent an important option for slowing cognitive deterioration. The evidence of apathy stabilization and the positive tendency of depressive symptom improvement should definitively be confirmed in double-blind controlled studies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)