The clinical and cost-effectiveness of donepezil, rivastigmine, galantamine and memantine for Alzheimer's disease

Loveman E, Green C, Kirby J, Takeda A, Picot J, Payne E, Clegg A
Record ID 32006000067
Authors' objectives: The objective of this review was to provide an update review of the best quality evidence for the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine for mild to moderately severe Alzheimer's disease (AD) and of memantine for moderately severe to severe AD.
Authors' results and conclusions: For mild to moderately severe AD, the results of the study suggested that all three treatments were beneficial when assessed using cognitive outcome measures. Global outcome measures were positive for donepezil and rivastigmine, but mixed for galantamine. Results for measures of function were mixed for donepezil and rivastigmine, but positive for galantamine. Behaviour and mood measures were mixed for donepezil and galantamine, but showed no benefit for rivastigmine. For memantine, two published RCTs were included; in one of these trials the participants were already being treated with donepezil. The results suggest that memantine is beneficial when assessed using functional and global measurements. The effect of memantine on cognitive and behaviour and mood outcomes is, however, less clear.
Authors' recommendations: Although results from the clinical effectiveness review suggest that these treatments may be beneficial, a number of issues need to be considered when assessing the results of the present review, such as the characteristics of the participants included in the individual trials, the outcome measures used, the length of study duration, the effects of attrition and the relationship between statistical significance and clinical significance. Many included trials were sponsored by industry. For donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine, the cost savings associated with reducing the mean time spent in full-time care do not offset the cost of treatment sufficiently to bring estimated cost-effectiveness to levels generally considered acceptable by NHS policy makers. It is difficult to draw conclusions on the cost-effectiveness of memantine; it is suggested that further amendments to the potentially optimistic industry model (measure of effect) would offer higher cost per QALY estimates. Future research should include: information on the quality of the outcome measures used; development of quality of life instruments for patients and carers; studies assessing the effects of these interventions of durations longer than 12 months; comparisons of benefits between interventions; and research on the prediction of disease progression.
Authors' methods: Systematic review
Project Status: Completed
URL for project:
Year Published: 2006
URL for published report: n/a
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: England, United Kingdom
MeSH Terms
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Alzheimer Disease
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Galantamine
  • Donepezil
  • Memantine
  • Rivastigmine
  • Dementia
  • Neuroprotective Agents
Organisation Name: NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme
Contact Address: NIHR Journals Library, National Institute for Health and Care Research, Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre, Alpha House, University of Southampton Science Park, Southampton SO16 7NS, UK
Contact Name:
Contact Email:
Copyright: 2009 Queen's Printer and Controller of HMSO
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.