Background/aims: Clinical short-term trails have shown positive effects of donepezil treatment in patients with Alzheimer's disease. The outcome of continuous long-term treatment in the routine clinical settings remains to be investigated.
Methods: The Swedish Alzheimer Treatment Study (SATS) is a descriptive, prospective, longitudinal, multicentre study. Four hundred and thirty-five outpatients with the clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, received treatment with donepezil. Patients were assessed with Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale (ADAS-cog), global rating (CIBIC) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) at baseline and every 6 months for a total period of 3 years.
Results: The mean MMSE change from baseline was positive for more than 6 months and in subgroups of patients for 12 months. After 3 years of treatment the mean change from baseline in MMSE-score was 3.8 points (95% CI, 3.0-4.7) and the ADAS-cog rise was 8.2 points (95% CI, 6.4-10.1). This is better than expected in untreated historical cohorts, and better than the ADAS-cog rise calculated by the Stern equation (15.6 points; 95% CI, 14.5-16.6). After 3 years with 38% of the patients remaining, 30% of the them were unchanged or improved in the global assessment.
Conclusion: Three-year donepezil treatment showed a positive global and cognitive outcome in the routine clinical setting.