Alzheimer’s: Two Drugs Better Than One
Study Shows Slowest Disease Progression With Combo Treatment
Other Approaches to Treatment
The researchers conclude that their study raises "the intriguing
possibility that combination therapy modestly modifies the long-term clinical
course of Alzheimer's disease."
But Alzheimer's researcher and clinician Constantine G. Lyketsos, MD, says
the findings do little to change his opinion that the currently available drugs
do not modify the course of the disease.
Lyketsos leads the psychiatry department at Baltimore's John's Hopkins
Bayview Medical Center.
"This was not a randomized trial, and that is a problem," he says.
"It may be that the patients on the combination treatment were healthier to
begin with and could tolerate more aggressive treatment."
Lyketsos says there is now general agreement that the approved Alzheimer's
drugs can have a "small to modest" impact on symptoms, but he adds that
medication is just one component of treatment.
Counseling and respite for caregivers, providing activities for patients,
treating psychiatric symptoms like depression, and getting patients
off other medications that they may not need are also important aspects of a
comprehensive treatment plan, he says.
"Good dementia care should include a
conversation with the health provider about whether drugs are needed, but it
certainly isn't limited to that," he says.