Donepezil Cuts Alzheimer's Health Care Costs. (Long-Term Treatment)

Article excerpt

ORLANDO, FLA. -- Sustained treatment with the acetyicholinesterase inhibitor donepezil significantly reduced health care costs for patients with Alzheimer's disease in a Medicare-managed care organization plan, Jerrold W Hill, Ph.D., said at the annual meeting of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry.

Lower costs are likely the result of enhanced cognitive functioning and associated improvements in medical management, said Dr. Hill of the Institute for the Study of Aging, New York.

Alzheimer's disease is the third most costly medical condition in the United States, estimated at S100 billion annually In one Medicare-managed care organization, Alzheimer's patients represented 0.55% of the population, but they accounted for 3.6% of total health care expenditures.

In a poster presentation at the meeting, Dr. Hill reported on a study involving 408 health plan members with Alzheimer's disease. In the retrospective case-control analysis, 204 patients who received donepezil (Aricept) during a 12-month period were compared with 204 patients who did not receive the drug. Patients were matched for age, gender, number of co morbid conditions, and date of first recorded diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. …