November 1997

An Update on Primary Drug Therapies for Alzheimer Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Neurology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (Dr Knopman), and Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Mo (Dr Morris). Dr Knopman has served as a paid consultant to Parke-Davis, Morris Plains, NJ; Athena Neuroscience, San Francisco, Calif; Eisai America, Teaneck, NJ; Pfizer Inc, New York, NY; Novartis Pharmaceutical Corp, East Hanover, NJ; Bayer Corp, West Haven, Conn; and Wyeth-Ayerst, Philadelphia, Pa. He is currently participating or will participate in clinical trials with Parke-Davis; Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals Inc, Gaithersburg, Md; Forest Laboratories Inc, New York; and GD Searle and Co, Chicago, Ill. Dr Morris has served as a paid consultant to Eisai America; Pfizer Inc; Novartis Pharmaceutical Corp; Eli Lilly and Co, Indianapolis, Ind; Bayer Corp; Janssen Pharmaceutical Inc, Titusville, NJ; Parke-Davis; Pharmacia and Upjohn Co, Kalamazoo, Mich; Roche Pharmaceuticals, Nutley, NJ; and Hoechst-Roussel Pharmaceuticals Inc, Somerville, NJ. He is currently participating in clinical trials sponsored by Smith Kline, Philadelphia; Bayer Corp; GD Searle and Co; and Novartis Pharmaceutical Corp. Dr Morris and his family do not own stock or have equity interests in any pharmaceutical or biotechnology company. Dr Knopman and his family do not own stock or have equity interests in any pharmaceutical or biotechnology company whose agents were mentioned in this article.

Arch Neurol. 1997;54(11):1406-1409. doi:10.1001/archneur.1997.00550230073020

Propelled by remarkable advances in the understanding of the pathological characteristics of Alzheimer disease (AD), the prospects for the treatment of the clinical disorder have brightened considerably in the past decade. Primary treatment is aimed at the core elements of AD: memory and other cognitive loss at the symptomatic level and the pathological characteristics of molecular, cellular, and neural systems at the biological level. Behavioral features, such as depression, delusions, anxiety, disordered sleep, and agitation, are considered secondary manifestations of AD, although these features have a major impact on the quality of life, functional effectiveness, and caregiver burden. The focus of this review is on recent developments in the primary therapy for AD.