Are TV Advertisements for Aricept Misleading?

Contributed by: Dennis Fortier, President, Medical Care Corporation

According to the FDA, they are.

Aricept is the most commonly prescribed treatment for Alzheimer's disease. It is indicated for treatment of mild to moderate dementia of the Alzheimer's type and data from FDA clinical trials suggests that it is more effective in relieving symptoms than in delaying the underlying disease.

However, recent television advertisements sponsored by Eisai (manufacturer of the drug) and Pfizer (US distributor of the drug) depict adults first meeting with a doctor, accompanied by an apparent caregiver, and then later engaged in daily activities such as gardening and caring for pets. In the opinion of the FDA, these ads suggest a level of improvement that is not supported by clinical data. The ads are currently suspended while the companies respond to the FDA's complaint.

Whatever the outcome, it is important to understand the treatment efficacy of cholinesterase inhibitors (the class of drugs to which Aricept belongs). Data from the FDA clinical trials suggest a symptomatic benefit and ongoing analysis of those data indicate a small but discernible disease delaying effect for some patients, especially those who begin treatment at an early stage of the disease. Importantly, it is now well established that a cholinesterase inhibitor combined with Namenda (a partial glutamate antagonist) yields the most benefit over the longest treatment period.

1 comment :

  1. I am new to Brain Today. I have cared for individuals with AD and their families for 18 years. Your clear and concise explanations are an incredible resource.