Diversity in Alzheimer's disease drug trials: The importance of eligibility criteria

Alzheimers Dement. 2022 Apr;18(4):810-823. doi: 10.1002/alz.12433. Epub 2021 Sep 30.


Introduction: To generalize safety and efficacy findings, it is essential that diverse populations are well represented in Alzheimer's disease (AD) drug trials. In this review, we aimed to investigate participant diversity in disease-modifying AD trials over time, and the frequencies of participant eligibility criteria.

Methods: A systematic review was performed using Medline, Embase, the Cochrane Library, and Clinicaltrials.gov, identifying 2247 records.

Results: In the 101 included AD trials, participants were predominantly White (median percentage: 94.7%, interquartile range: 81.0-96.7%); and this percentage showed no significant increase or decrease over time (2001-2019). Eligibility criteria such as exclusion of persons with psychiatric illness (78.2%), cardiovascular disease (71.3%) and cerebrovascular disease (68.3%), obligated caregiver attendance (80.2%), and specific Mini-Mental State Examination scores (90.1%; no significant increase/decrease over time) may have led to a disproportionate exclusion of ethnoracially diverse individuals.

Discussion: Ethnoracially diverse participants continue to be underrepresented in AD clinical trials. Several recommendations are provided to broaden eligibility criteria.

Keywords: clinical trial; clinical trial protocols; cultural diversity; ethnic groups; phase II; phase III; randomized controlled trials.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease* / drug therapy
  • Caregivers
  • Humans