Lookup NU author(s): Professor Ian McKeith
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OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact on burden reported by caregivers of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD) who were treated with metrifonate during a randomized double blind clinical trial. DESIGN: Randomized clinical trial, with a 2-week screening period and a 26-week double blind, placebo controlled, treatment phase. Caregivers were assessed at baseline, at 12 weeks, and at end of trial. SETTING: Caregivers were interviewed at clinics as part of the assessment of the patients. PARTICIPANTS: Six hundred and three caregivers of AD patients who were enrolled in the MALT trial; 591 (98%) provided data suitable for analysis at baseline, and 546 (91%) provided data allowing for inclusion in the analysis of change scores. MEASUREMENTS: The Caregiver Burden Assessment consisted of the Screen for Caregiver Burden, including both subjective (SCB-subj) and objective (SCB-obj) scores; the cognitive subscale of Poulshock and Deimling (PD); an abridged version of the Relatives Stress Scale (aRSS); assessments of time spent in providing care, including the Caregiver Activity Time Scale (CATS); and demographic and background variables on both the patient and caregiver. RESULTS: Treatment of mild to moderate AD patients with metrifonate for a duration of 26 weeks significantly reduced the psychological burden of care to the caregivers, as measured by the SCB-subj, the PD, and the aRSS. There were no statistically significant differences on the measures assessing the time spent in caregiving, except for the caregiver's subjective impression of the change in time spent providing care during the trial. When comparing individual dose groups, most of the measures of burden showed the largest benefits in burden for the 60/80 mg group, followed by the 40/50 mg group, and then the placebo group. However, there was no statistically significant dose effect. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides the first evidence from a randomized clinical trial of any acetylcholinesterase inhibitor used in the treatment of AD demonstrating a positive impact: on the patient's caregiver as well as benefits to the patient. These results were shown consistently across several measurement scales and were observed after six months of treatment. These findings reinforce the clinical significance of research that has shown that metrifonate has beneficial impacts on the cognitive, behavioral, and functional abilities of AD patients. Because caregiver burden is a leading factor in the decision for institutional care placement, the ability to favorably impact that burden through pharmacological treatment of the patient is important.
Author(s): McKeith I; Shikiar R; Shakespeare A; Sagnier PP; Wilkinson D; Dartigues JF; Dubois B
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
ISSN (print): 0002-8614
ISSN (electronic): 1532-5415
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.