Long-term efficacy and safety of donepezil in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease: an interim analysis of the results of a US multicentre open label extension study

Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 1998 Feb;8(1):67-75. doi: 10.1016/s0924-977x(97)00079-5.


The long-term efficacy and safety of donepezil (up to 10 mg/day) was evaluated in a multicentre, non-randomised, open-label extension study of 133 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD) who had completed a previous 14-week double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of donepezil. Assessments were conducted at three-weekly intervals for 12 weeks, then 12-weekly for up to 192 weeks. Efficacy, assessed by the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale (ADAS-cog) and Clinical Dementia Rating-Sum of the Boxes (CDR-SB), was examined in comparison with published data of untreated AD patients. Safety was monitored by physical examinations, laboratory tests and vital sign measurements. Results of this interim analysis (at 98 weeks) show that donepezil produced improvements in cognition which remained superior to baseline for 38 weeks. CDR-SB likewise showed improvement, with scores maintained near baseline values for 26 weeks. Scores for both instruments then increased as expected in a progressive disease. However, the slope of score progression was less than has been historically reported for untreated patients. While the lack of a concurrent placebo group does not allow conclusions about the ability of donepezil to attenuate disease progression, the data, nonetheless, demonstrate that there is no loss of treatment benefit over 98 weeks. Donepezil was well tolerated, with no evidence of hepatotoxicity.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Donepezil
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indans / administration & dosage
  • Indans / adverse effects
  • Indans / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Piperidines / administration & dosage
  • Piperidines / adverse effects
  • Piperidines / therapeutic use*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • United States


  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Indans
  • Piperidines
  • Donepezil