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Effectiveness and tolerability of transdermal rivastigmine in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease in daily practice

Authors Seibert, Tracik, Articus, Spittler S

Received 12 December 2011

Accepted for publication 28 January 2012

Published 5 April 2012 Volume 2012:8 Pages 141—147


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Johannes Seibert1, Ferenc Tracik2,3, Konstantin Articus2, Stefan Spittler4

1Outpatient Clinic, Heidelberg, Germany; 2Novartis Pharma, Nürnberg, Germany; 3Department of Neurology, Heinrich-Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany; 4Alexianer Krefeld, Maria Hilf Clinic, Krefeld, Germany

Background: Oral cholinesterase inhibitors at doses efficacious for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are often prematurely discontinued due to gastrointestinal side effects. In controlled clinical trials, transdermal rivastigmine demonstrated less such effects at similar efficacy. The current study aimed to verify the validity of this data in daily practice.
Methods: This was a prospective, multicenter, observational study on transdermal rivastigmine in Germany. Eligible patients were those with AD who had not yet been treated with rivastigmine. Outcome measures were changes in clock-drawing test, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Caregiver Burden Scale, Clinical Global Impression (CGI), physicians’ assessments of tolerability, and the incidence of adverse events (AEs) over 4 months of treatment.
Results: In 257 centers 1113 patients were enrolled; 614 women and 499 men, mean age 76.5 years. In 58% of patients AD was treated for the first time and in 42% therapy was switched to transdermal rivastigmine, mostly due to lack of tolerability (13.6%) or effectiveness (26.9%). After 4 months, 67.4% of patients were on the target dose of 9.5 mg/day and 21.8% were still on 4.6 mg/day. MMSE significantly improved in patients with and without pretreatment (ΔMMSE, 0.9 ± 3.4 and 0.8 ± 3.4, respectively, both P < 0.001); the CGI score improved in 60.9% and 61.3% of patients, respectively. Overall 11.7% of patients had AEs, mainly affecting the skin or the gastrointestinal tract; in 1.1% of cases AEs were serious; 14.7% of patients discontinued therapy, 6.0% due to AEs. With rivastigmine treatment the percentage of patients taking psychotropic comedication decreased, particularly in first-time treated rivastigmine patients (from 27.1% to 22.6%; P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Results were in line with data from controlled clinical trials. Switching from any other oral acetylcholinesterase inhibitor to transdermal rivastigmine may improve cognition.

Keywords: rivastigmine patch, Alzheimer’s disease, treatment practice

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