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Date: April 09, 2008

How Effective Are Alzheimer Drugs?

Now that the BC government has agreed to cover some of the cost of drugs for people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a University of Victoria gerontologist is asking caregivers whether they think the drugs are effective.

Cholinesterase inhibitors (ChEI’s), the class of medications being covered, are perceived to be beneficial for treating AD. However, studies indicate that the drugs have limited effectiveness. Furthermore, existing studies have focused on the short-term benefits of these medications and not on the long-term effects. The specific medications being covered are donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Reminyl), and rivastigmine (Exelon). As well, most research focuses on clinical effects of the drugs without taking the views of the people who care for those with AD into account.

In an effort to understand the caregiver perspective about the benefits and limitations of ChEI’s, UVic’s Dr. Neena Chappell is collecting information on the experiences of caregivers who qualify for the Fair PharmaCare coverage of these three medications. She is asking for 2,000 volunteers—from across the province—to participate in interviews with trained researchers starting later this spring and into the fall.

Those interested in participating in this study should call the UVic Centre on Aging’s Survey Research Centre at 1-866-511-2594.

PharmaCare is funding the “Alzheimer Drug Therapy Initiative, Caregiver Appraisal Study,” until December 2010.
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Media contacts:
Neena Chappell (Centre on Aging) at 250-472-4465 or nlc@uvic.ca
Carren Dujela (Centre on Aging) at 250-472-4464 or learn@uvic.ca
Maria Lironi (UVic Communications) at 250-721-6139, cell 250-213-1705 or lironim@uvic.ca

UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media

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