In studies on the efficacy of antidementia drugs, a delay in symptom progression was often postulated based on a comparison of the change upon treatment and an assumed "natural" progression. Such comparisons were usually based on the cognitive subscore of the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS-cog), using either the drug-placebo differences after randomized treatment or the changes upon active drug treatment in open-label extension studies. Considering quality of life, competence, cost of care, and economics of therapeutic measures, a delay in the progression of dependency and need of care appears to be more relevant than a delay in cognitive abilities not directly related to activities of daily living. Therefore, for dementia patients treated with the Ginkgo special extract EGb 761, the delay in loss of capacities needed to cope with the demands of daily living was estimated, based on the Geriatric Evaluation of Relative's Rating Instrument (GERRI). The drug-placebo differences documented after 26 and 52 weeks of treatment corresponded to a delay in progression by 10 and 21 months, respectively. Regarding the subgroup with dementia of the Alzheimer type, the estimated delay was 16 and 25 months, respectively. It could thus be shown that by treatment with EGb 761 the progression of dependency and need of care can be slowed down, which may have an impact on costs for care, e.g. by delaying nursing home placement.