Background: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia in older patients. Rivastigmine (RV, Exelon®, Novartis), a reversible cholinesterase inhibitor, improves clinical manifestations of AD and may enhance ACh-modulated electroencephalogram (EEG) alpha frequency. This pilot study aimed to determine the effects of two formulations of RV (transdermal patch [TV-RDP] and oral capsules [TV-CP]) on alpha frequency, in particular the posterior dominant rhythm, and cognitive function (assessed by the Mini-Mental State Examination [MMSE]) in patients with AD. Methods: Subjects with AD were assigned to receive either RV-TDP 10 cm2 or RV-CP 12 mg/day. All patients underwent EEG recordings at the beginning and end of the 18-month study period using P3, P4, O1 and O2 electrodes, each at high (10.5-13.0 Hz) and low (8.0- 10.5 Hz) frequency. MMSE scores were determined at the start of the study (T0) and at three successive 6-month intervals (T1, T2 and T3). Results: RV-TDP administration (n=10) maintained cognitive function as evidenced by stable MMSE scores from baseline to 18 months (21.07 ± 2.4 to 21.2 ± 3.1) compared with a decrease in MMSE score with RV-CP (n=10) over 18 months (18.3 ± 3.6 to 13.6 ± 5.06 [adjusted for covariates p=0.006]). MMSE scores were significantly different between treatment groups from 6 months (p=0.04). RV-TDP also increased the spectral power of alpha waves in the posterior region measured with electrode P3 in a significantly great percentage of patients than TV-CP from baseline to 18 months; 80% versus 30%, respectively (p=0.025 [X2 test]). Conclusion: RV-TDP was associated with a greater proportion of patients with increased posterior region alpha wave spectral power and significantly higher cognitive function at 18 months, compared with RV-CP treatment. Our findings suggest that RV-TDP provides an effective long-term management option in patients with AD compared with oral RV-CP. This study is a pilot, open-label study with a clear explorative purpose and with a small number of patients. Further randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial studies with a bigger sample size as well as healthy controls is needed to support these initial results.
- Alzheimer's disease
- Cognitive function
- Transdermal rivastigmine oral rivastigmine
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience