Landmark Ruling Comes Into Effect: Treatment now Available for People With Mild Alzheimer's at Time of DiagnosisBy Eisai And Pfizer, PRNE
Monday, March 21, 2011
LONDON, March 23, 2011 - Alzheimer's patients in England and Wales can now be prescribed treatment
when presenting with mild stages of the disease. New guidance from the
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) comes into
effect today, marking a significant change to an earlier 2007 ruling which
restricted access to medication for patients with moderate disease only.*
The guidance recommends three Alzheimer's disease medications belonging
to a class of drugs known as acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors,
including Aricept(R) (donepezil), as possible options for managing mild to
moderate Alzheimer's disease.
"This is a milestone for people with Alzheimer's disease, their families,
carers and society as the new ruling means that crucial treatment can be
given earlier thereby helping to reduce the impact of the disease at a much
earlier stage", says Dr Craig Ritchie from Department of Psychological
Medicine, Imperial College London, Honorary Consultant and R&D Director, West
London Mental Health Trust.
The new guidance supports the Department of Health's National Dementia
Strategy which encourages the active management of Alzheimer's disease to
minimise the burden of the condition on patients, their carers and society.
In addition, the need for greater access to dementia-specific treatments is
in line with the recent Alzheimer's Disease International report which calls
for governments to make dementia a higher health priority, to help tackle the
huge burden of the disease.
As a result of NICE's decision, GPs have an option for early
intervention; "This NICE guidance is a call to action for GPs to talk with
all patients who were previously denied treatment at the early stages of this
devastating disease. Early treatment at the first signs of the disease, can
work towards significantly improving their quality of life" added Dr Sarah
Jarvis, GP, Richford Gate Medical Practice.
Nick Burgin, Managing Director UK, Eisai Limited(R) said: "We are delighted
that patients with early disease will now finally have an opportunity to
receive Alzheimer's treatments such as Aricept(R). Greater awareness is needed
amongst GPs, patients and carers of the early treatment options now available
to them which could lead to better outcomes for people with Alzheimer's."
*Additional information on the NICE guidance
1.1 The three acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors (donepezil,
galantamine and rivastigmine) are recommended as options for managing mild to
moderate Alzheimer's disease under all of the conditions specified in 1.3 and
1.2 Memantine is recommended as an option for managing Alzheimer's
disease for people with: moderate Alzheimer's disease who are intolerant of
or have a contraindication to AChE inhibitors or severe Alzheimer's disease.
1.3 Treatment should be under the conditions specified in 1.3.
- Only specialists in the care of patients with dementia (that is,
psychiatrists including those specialising in learning disability,
neurologists, and physicians specialising in the care of older people) should
initiate treatment. Carers' views on the patient's condition at baseline
should be sought.
- Treatment should be continued only when it is considered to be having a
worthwhile effect on cognitive, global, functional or behavioural symptoms.
- Patients who continue on treatment should be reviewed regularly using
cognitive, global, functional and behavioural assessment. Treatment should be
reviewed by an appropriate specialist team, unless there are locally agreed
protocols for shared care. Carers' views on the patient's condition at
follow-up should be sought.
1.4 If prescribing an AChE inhibitor (donepezil, galantamine or
rivastigmine), treatment should normally be started with the drug with the
lowest acquisition cost (taking into account required daily dose and the
price per dose once shared care has started). However, an alternative AChE
inhibitor could be prescribed if it is considered appropriate when taking
into account adverse event profile, expectations about adherence, medical
comorbidity, possibility of drug interactions and dosing profiles.
For the full guidance, please visit: guidance.nice.org.uk/
Currently, there are around 820,000 people living with Alzheimer's and
other dementias in the UK, including an estimated 575,000 sufferers in
England and 37,000 in Wales. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form
of dementia, affecting 62% of dementia patients in the UK. This
irreversible, progressive brain disorder gradually destroys memory, reasoning
and thinking skills, and may eventually leave patients unable to carry out
even the simplest tasks. Alzheimer's disease has impacts in many ways
including physical, mental, nursing, medical and social impacts. Despite
its burden, Alzheimer's remains a relatively overlooked disease. Just 2.5%
of the government's medical research budget is devoted to dementia; in
contrast a quarter is allocated to cancer research.
Eisai is one of the worlds leading research-based pharmaceutical
companies that has defined its corporate mission as "giving first thought to
patients and their families and to increasing the benefits health care
provides," which we call human health care (hhc).
Eisai concentrates its research activities in three key areas:
- Integrative Neuroscience, including: Alzheimer's disease, multiple
sclerosis, neuropathic pain, epilepsy, depression
- Integrative Oncology including: anticancer therapies; tumour
regression, tumour suppression, antibodies, etc and supportive cancer
therapies; pain relief, nausea
- Vascular/Immunological reaction including: acute coronary syndrome,
atherothrombotic disease, sepsis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn's
With operations in the U.S., Asia, Europe and its domestic home market of
Japan, we employ more than 11,000 people worldwide.
Pfizer: Working Together for a Healthier World(TM)
At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to improve health
and well-being at every stage of life. We strive to set the standard for
quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacturing of
medicines for people and animals. Our diversified global health care
portfolio includes human and animal biologic and small molecule medicines and
vaccines, as well as nutritional products and many of the world's best-known
consumer products. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work to advance wellness,
prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of
our time. Consistent with our responsibility as the world's leading
biopharmaceutical company, we also collaborate with health care providers,
governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable,
affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, Pfizer has
worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. In the UK, Pfizer has its
business headquarters in Surrey and is the major supplier of medicines to the
NHS. To learn more about our commitments, please visit us at
 National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, NICE
Technology Appraisal guidance 111. Available at: guidance.nice.org.uk/
 NHS National Dementia Strategy. Available at:
Last accessed Sept 2010
 World Alzheimer Report 2010. Available at:
Last accessed Sept 2010
 Alzheimer's Research Trust -Dementia 2010. Available at:
www.dementia2010.org/reports/Dementia2010Full.pdf. Last accessed Jan
 Alzheimer Society. Available at: alzheimers.org.uk Last
accessed Jan 2011
 National Institute on Aging (NIA). Alzheimer's Disease Factsheet. NIH
Publication No 08-6423. Reprinted February 2010
 Alzheimer's Research Trust. Available at:
www.alzheimers-research.org.uk/info/statistics/ Last accessed Jan 2011
(Due to the length of these URLs, it may be necessary to copy and paste
the hyperlinks into your Internet browser's URL address field. Remove the
space if one exists.)
For further information contact: Benjamyn Tan / Laura Craggs, Tonic Life Communications, +44(0)20-7798-9262 / +44(0)20-7798-9260, Benjamyn.tan at toniclc.com / laura.craggs at toniclc.com, Eisai Europe Ltd - Cressida Robson: +44(0)845-676-5318, Pfizer Press Office: +44(0)845-300-8033
Tags: Eisai and Pfizer, London, March 23, United Kingdom