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Psychiatr Danub. 2010 Jun;22(2):367-9.

The dramatic effects of Galantamine in a patient with early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

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School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge, UK.



We discuss the case of a 51 year old former mid-wife presented to the NHS Luton and Bedfordshire psychiatric services with a 2 year history of increasing forgetfulness with significant impairment to her daily function. She was diagnosed with non-familial early-onset Alzheimer's Disease (EOAD) and started on 8mg daily of the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor Galantamine.


The information for this study was gathered from patient notes, consultant, collateral and personal accounts. Periodic outpatient consultations at the NHS Luton and Bedfordshire psychiatric services were used to monitor Mrs LF's global, functional and behavioral progress. These were supplemented with the mini mental state examination (MMSE) at each outpatient appointment.


The graph of MMSE scores illustrates severe decline in scores, followed eventually by increase in score to sustained improvement while continuing on galantamine. Functionally, this lady has successfully negotiated a divorce, moved into her own accommodation, began travelling on holidays, including abroad, with friends, and has now embarked on a new relationship.


Whilst only being a single case study, this demonstrates the significant benefits which are attainable with Galantamine in EOAD. The extent of this improvement may be a result of individual variation, or perhaps a greater efficacy for this drug in the subset of 'early-onset' AD patients, which has long been thought to share the same mechanism as traditional AD. The responsiveness to Galantamine in this patient may suggest an alternative mechanism of Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease to typical Alzheimer's Disease in the over 65's.


The case raises interesting questions as to whether EOAD should be considered distinct to typical (over 65's) AD, given the greater than expected response to Galantamine.

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