The latest report from DoH older peoples' czar Professor Ian Philp endorses early intervention for dementia because it 'has been shown to help sufferers and their families enjoy a higher quality of life and reduce the need for admission to care homes'.
In contrast, the NICE final technology appraisal said cholinesterase inhibitors should not be initiated in patients with mild Alzheimer's disease (GP, 13 October 2006). This is despite the drugs being regarded as the most effective available treatment for Alzheimer's.
However, Professor Philp argued that his report and advice from NICE do 'marry up' because NICE endorsed cholinesterase inhibitor use for patients with a mini mental state examination score of 10-20, which it says is when it becomes effective.
'There are many people who oppose this narrow interval for use,' said Professor Philp, but he refused to comment on whether or not he agreed with NICE.