Cheap Alzheimer's drug 'may help keep people out of care homes' Donepezil is usually withdrawn as a treatment for people with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease as it had been thought to provide little benefit.
In this study, researchers wanted to see if this was a hasty decision and people should actually continue to take the drug – they carried out a randomised controlled study to look at the issue.
People with moderate to severe Alzheimer's, who were living in the community, were randomly allocated to discontinue or continue taking donepezil, either alone or in combination with another Alzheimer's drug called memantine, or switching to memantine alone.
The main outcome the researchers looked at was whether these people ended up being placed in a nursing home. The results showed discontinuing donepezil roughly doubled the chance of nursing home placements during the first year. There was no significant difference between these groups in the following three years. NHS Choices