The efficacy of tacrine and the measurement of outcomes in Alzheimer's disease

Glennie J
Record ID 31999008487
English, French
Authors' objectives:

Given the limitations of the data available in the public domain, the study's scope was limited to a critical appraisal of the evidence of Tacrine's efficacy in AD.

Authors' results and conclusions: 1. Tacrine was shown to have modest efficacy in mild-to-moderate AD, with small but clinically unimportant improvements in cognitive status in 3 trials. The remaining 7 clinical trials demonstrated no differences in the outcome measures related to cognition. 2. There are challenges presented by the interpretation of clinical trial results in terms of Tacrine's efficacy in this patient population. There is significant variability in the degree to which the outcome measurement tools used in the Tacrine trials have been assessed for validity, reliability and responsiveness; and very few scales have been developed specifically for AD. Clearly, more research and development is needed in the area of measurement scales suitable for the evaluation of treatment in AD. 3. The modest efficacy of this drug must be balanced by: a) the frequency of Tacrine's adverse effects (e.g. hepatotoxicity, gastrointestinal events) in study subjects who, apart from suffering from AD, were healthy with no other medical conditions and free from potentially interfering/ interacting medications; and, b) the inability to identify initially which subjects may respond to Tacrine without experiencing side effects. 4. Given the small proportion of study subjects who were able to complete the trials reviewed, the effectiveness of Tacrine within the overall cohort of subjects eligible for trial entry has not been established. The authors were unable to predict the potential effectiveness of Tacrine in the population of AD subjects for whom physicians may consider this drug.
Authors' recommendations: Tacrine was shown to have modest efficacy in mild-to-moderate AD.
Authors' methods: Overview
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 1997
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: Canada
MeSH Terms
  • Tacrine
  • Alzheimer Disease
Organisation Name: Canadian Coordinating Office for Health Technology Assessment
Contact Address: 600-865 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, ON K1S 5S8 Canada. Tel: +1 613 226 2553, Fax: +1 613 226 5392;
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Copyright: Canadian Coordinating Office for Health Technology Assessment
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.