Hundreds of thousands of people could benefit after new health guidelines widened the availability of Alzheimer’s drugs.
Key medicines such as Aricept (donepezil), Reminyl (galantamine) and Exelon (rivastigmine) will be made available to people in the mild stages of the disease under new guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).
The new guidance comes as a surprise after NICE caused controversy in 2006 and 2007 when it ruled that the drugs would only be available to people in moderate stages of the disease.
The guidance, which is subject to appeal, also recommends the use of Ebixa (mementine) for severe disease and for some patients with moderate disease. Previously, it was only available to patients as part of a clinical trial.
The drugs, which cost around £2.80 a day, do not offer a cure for Alzheimer’s disease but they have been shown to improve everyday functioning such as increasing concentration levels and the ability to plan.
Copyright Press Association 2010