Objective: The pharmacological effects of generic (GE) donepezil are the same as Aricept, its brand-name counterpart. However, little is known as to whether these two drugs provide the same quality of life (QOL). The study subjects were patients with Alzheimer's disease who were taking donepezil hydrochloride tablets, and were selected by visiting either the local pharmacies or the patients' homes. We chose the brand-name drug Aricept and its GE form donepezil to investigate, from a long-term caregiver's perspective, the influence of both drugs on the patients' QOL.
Methods: An EuroQol-5 Dimension (EQ-5D) was used to assess the QOL of patients with Alzheimer's disease, before and after various Aricept and/or donepezil regimens. Patients were divided into four groups: first time users of Aricept (n=43), first time users of GE donepezil (n=45), users refilling previous prescriptions of Aricept (n=51), and users switching from Aricept to GE donepezil (n=51).
Results: The average change in the EQ-5D utility indices rose significantly in the patients starting a new regimen of Aricept and its GE drug. The patients continuing an existing regimen of Aricept showed no significant differences, even after Aricept was switched to a GE drug.
Conclusion: The QOL of patients starting a new regimen of Aricept and its GE drug improved. The QOL was maintained upon switching to the GE drug form.
Keywords: Alzheimer disease; Donepezil hydrochloride; EuroQol-5 Dimension; Generic drugs; Quality of life.