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Donepezil is no more effective than placebo for agitation in people with Alzheimer’s disease

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Professor Howard

Correspondence to: Professor Howard, Medical Research Council Centre for Neurodegeneration Research, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, DeCrespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK;



Is donepezil effective for behavioural disturbance in people with Alzheimer’s disease that have not responded to psychosocial treatment?


250 adults (>39 years old; 85% female; 93% in residential care) with Alzheimer’s disease (possible or probable according to Neurological and Communication Disorders and Stroke-Alzheimer’s disease and Related Disorders Association criteria) and distressing agitation causing management problems for caregivers on ⩾2 days per week for 2 weeks and that had not responded to up to 4 weeks of psychosocial treatment prior to randomisation. Other inclusion criteria: Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CMAI) score ⩾39; living in residential care or with a permanent carer; were consenting to treatment or were assenting and with a caregiver in agreement with participation. Exclusions: treatment with neuroleptics or cholinesterase inhibitors within past 4 weeks, or planned for such treatment in next …

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  • Competing interests: None.

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