Eisai Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Tokyo, President & CEO: Haruo Naito) announced today that The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), a special agency of the United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS), has issued final appraisal recommendations regarding the treatment of patients with mild Alzheimer's disease.

The new ruling means Alzheimer's disease patients with mild-to-moderate forms of the disease will have access to treatment with acetycholinesterase inhibitors(AChEIs), including Aricept®. Based on revised NICE guidance issued in 2006, the availability of AChEIs is currently restricted to patients with moderate disease, however, new Alzheimer's disease treatment guidance, scheduled for publication in mid March 2011, will once again allow mild Alzheimers patients to have access to treatment these medications.

The final appraisal recommendations are welcome news for people with early Alzheimer's disease and their families, as these patients will at last be able to get access to treatment right from the early stages of the disease. Up until now, medical practitioners across the United Kingdom were forced to ask patients with mild disease to come back and see them when their condition had worsened. However, the new guidance will allow these patients to access treatment early on and help keep them as independent as possible for as long as a possible. Furthermore, it offers people with Alzheimers disease a possible chance of a better quality of life at all stages of their condition. The final appraisal recommendations are also welcomed by the U.K Alzheimer's Society, who will be campaigning for more people to have access to treatments.

Since pioneering a therapeutic treatment for Alzheimer's disease with the launch of Aricept®, Eisai has gone on to provide a range of highly beneficial treatment options that include multiple formulation types of varying specifications. In compliance with the new guidance, Eisai will continue to make further contributions to address the diversified needs of and increase the benefits provided to patients and their families as well as healthcare professionals.

[ Please refer to the attached notes for additional information on the NICE guidance and Alzheimer's Disease ]

Media Inquiries:

Public Relations Department,
Eisai Co., Ltd.

< Notes to editors >

1. Additional Information on the NICE Guidance

Appraisal Committee Final Recommendations

  • 1.1
    The three acetycholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors (donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine) are recommended as options for managing mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (as per their license indications), under all of the following conditions:
    • Only specialists in the care of patients with dementia should initiate treatment.
    • Treatment should be continued only when it is considered to be having a worthwhile effect on cognitive, global, functional and behavioral symptoms.
    • Patients who continue on the drug should be reviewed at least every six months using cognitive, global, functional and behavioral assessment.
    • If prescribing an AChE inhibitor (donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine), treatment should normally be started with a drug with the lowest acquisition cost (taking into account required daily dose and the price per dose once shared care has started). However, an alternative AChE inhibitor could be prescribed if it is considered appropriate when taking into account adverse event profile, expectations around adherence, medical comorbidity, possibility of drug interactions and dosing profiles.
  • 1.2
    Memantine is recommended as an option for managing Alzheimers disease for people with: moderate Alzheimers disease who are intolerant to or have a contraindication to AChE inhibitors; or severe Alzheimers disease.

2. About Alzheimer's Disease in the United Kingdom

Currently, there are around 820,000 people living with Alzheimer's and other dementias in the United Kingdom, including an estimated 575,000 sufferers in England and 37,000 in Wales. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting 62% of dementia patients in the United Kingdom. This irreversible, progressive brain disorder gradually destroys memory, reasoning and thinking skills, and may eventually leave patients unable to carry out even the simplest tasks. Alzheimer's disease has impacts in many ways including physical, mental, nursing, medical and social impacts. Despite its burden, Alzheimer's remains a relatively overlooked disease. Just 2.5% of the U.K. government's medical research budget is devoted to dementia; in contrast a quarter is allocated to cancer research.