Regulatory aspects of vascular dementia in the United States

Int Psychogeriatr. 2003:15 Suppl 1:293-5. doi: 10.1017/S1041610203009360.


There is significant interest in the development of new drugs to treat vascular dementia. However, before US approval of new drugs for this entity is possible, certain issues with regulatory implications need to be addressed. Is vascular dementia a distinct clinical syndrome with valid diagnostic criteria? Can this entity be distinguished from Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other causes of dementia? What design features are important for clinical trials in this disorder? The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) convened a special meeting of the Peripheral and Central Nervous System Advisory Committee in an attempt to answer these questions. The conclusions from this meeting indicate that vascular dementia (VaD) is a pathologically heterogeneous disorder but appears to be reasonably distinguishable from AD dementia. The NINDS-AIREN diagnostic criteria are suitable as entry criteria for vascular dementia trials. Trials should be similar in duration to AD dementia trials and should employ a dual outcome strategy (cognitive + global/functional measures). For drugs that are believed to have a disease-modifying effect, clinical trials should study specific vascular dementia subtypes and would need to employ substantially different designs from those used currently. The term "vascular dementia" may not be entirely appropriate to describe this population.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Dementia, Vascular / therapy*
  • Ethics, Clinical
  • Government Regulation*
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Research / legislation & jurisprudence
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration