Alzheimer's drug effective in patients with severe disease, study finds

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A new study finds that the drug donepezil can reverse some cognitive and functional deterioration in patients with severe Alzheimer's disease.

Donepezil is used to treat mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's. It has not been known how effective the drug is in patients in an advanced stage of the disease.

Bengt Winbland and colleagues from the Karolinska Institutet in Huddinge, Sweden conducted the study, which was financed by the drug's maker. They recruited Alzheimer's patients over age 50 from 50 nursing homes in Sweden. A total of 95 patients received donepezil and 99 received a placebo for six months. Those on donepezil had better cognition and ability to carry out daily activities compared with those on placebo.