NICE maintains restriction on use of Alzheimer's drugs

NICE has announced that it will not change its draft Alzheimer's guidance which restricts the use of cholinesterase inhibitors, following a High Court appeal.

NICE released its economic model to stakeholders for their comment in November 2008.

NICE's Independent Advisory Committee concluded that, although a number of technical inaccuracies were highlighted and amendments were made to the economic model, these were not sufficient to change the original conclusion that these treatments are not cost effective in the mild stages of the disease.

NICE guidance on the use of donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine and memantine for the treatment of Alzheimer's therefore remains unchanged and the drugs continue to be recommended only for people with moderate Alzheimer's.

Andrew Dillon, chief executive of NICE, said: ‘NICE was not asked by the Court of Appeal to carry out a new appraisal of these treatments.

‘However, we operate a process of regularly reviewing our guidance to take into account any new evidence and as long as no appeals are received a review can start as soon as possible.'

Elsewhere, Cambridge University researchers have developed a new test to help detect Alzheimer's.

The test, which involves a series of questions, can be carried out by patients themselves, potentially while sitting in a GP or hospital waiting room.

Writing in the BMJ, the researchers claim that it can provide more accurate results than the standard mini mental-state examination, or MMSE.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

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