"To Treat or not To Treat": Informing the Decision for Disease-Modifying Therapy in Late-Stage Alzheimer's Disease

J Alzheimers Dis. 2019;68(4):1321-1323. doi: 10.3233/JAD-190033.


Rosen et al. thoughtfully extend the ethical discussion surrounding disease-modifying therapies in late-stage Alzheimer's disease (AD) to correctly emphasize that the perceived quality of life (QoL) of the individual living with the disease is a critical component to decisions regarding their clinical care. The primary purpose of our original article regarding the use of disease-modifying therapeutics in late-stage AD was to ensure that those affected by AD and their primary care team are empowered to make informed care decisions in the best interest of the individual living with AD. Consequently, it appears axiomatic that major therapeutic decisions need to incorporate consideration of the current and future QoL of individuals living with dementia; however, in the absence of effective restorative therapies, it is important to acknowledge the context within which extant QoL measures were developed and question whether such measures are adequate to inform treatment decisions that may hold the potential to significantly or perhaps indefinitely prolong severe disability.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; ethics; late-stage; quality of life; restoration; therapeutics.

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Decision Making*
  • Ethics, Medical
  • Humans
  • Palliative Care / ethics*
  • Quality of Life*