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J Natl Med Assoc. 2008 Nov;100(11):1350-8.

Effectiveness and safety of donepezil in Hispanic patients with Alzheimer's disease: a 12-week open-label study.

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Department of Neurology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.



Hispanics represent 10% of the U.S. population and are the fastest growing group. Studies show a higher prevalence and incidence of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in Hispanics than in the non-Hispanic white population, with an earlier age of onset. Among the currently estimated 200,000 Hispanics with AD, a significant number remain undiagnosed and untreated, and Hispanic participation in AD clinical trials has been historically low. This study evaluated the efficacy and safety of donepezil hydrochloride (donepezil) in Hispanics with mild-to-moderate AD.


In this multicenter, open-label, 12-week study conducted in the United States, subjects were Hispanic men or women aged > or =50 years with a diagnosis of mild-to-moderate AD (DSMV-IV and NINCDS/ADRDA criteria), with Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores of 10-26 (inclusive) at screening. Subjects were treated with donepezil 5 mg/day for 6 weeks followed by 10 mg/day for 6 weeks. Clinical evaluation was performed at baseline, week 6 and week 12. Cognitive improvement was measured using the MMSE, Fuld Object Memory Evaluation (FOME) and Symbol Digit Modality Test (SDMT). Behavioral symptoms and associated caregiver distress were assessed with the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI).


One-hundred-six patients with mild-to-moderate AD (mean age 68.6 years) were enrolled (intent to treat, n=97); most chose to have assessments conducted in Spanish. With 12 weeks of treatment, subjects showed statistically significant improvement from baseline on MMSE (P<0.0001), FOME retrieval (P=0.0042), FOME repeated retrieval (P=0.0020) and SDMT correct scores (P<0.0001). The NPI subdomain "apathy/indifference" showed statistically significant improvement (P=0.0010).The NPI Caregiver Distress scale (NPI-D) total score was statistically significantly improved (P=0.0500), suggesting a positive impact on relieving caregivers' burden associated with patient behavior. Most patients tolerated the treatment well, with only 2 discontinuing because of adverse events. The most common (>5%) adverse events were insomnia (9.5%), dizziness (7.6%), diarrhea (5.7%) and nausea (5.7%).


The cognitive improvement and safety results from this study were consistent with those reported for donepezil in the general population. Increased awareness of AD in the Hispanic population will help more Hispanics with AD to benefit from early diagnosis and effective treatment.

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