Prescribing Influences: Alzheimer's Disease - Alleviating Symptoms Remains the Goal for Prescribers

14 Jul 2011 • by Natalie Aster

“Neurologists rated the call for an effective disease-modifying therapy as the greatest unmet need. Current drugs provide symptomatic benefit only, leaving the underlying neurodegeneration to continue unabated. The opportunity also exists for more effective drugs in treating the cognitive and functional deficits associated with Alzheimer’s disease.”

The report “Prescribing Influences: Alzheimer's Disease - Alleviating Symptoms Remains the Goal for Prescribers” by Datamonitor provides an overview of the key unmet needs in Alzheimer’s disease treatment and their relative importance, as rated by neurologists.

In addition to sponsoring disease awareness campaigns, the key players in the Alzheimer’s disease market have been generating brand awareness by targeting caregivers. Companies with new reformulations on the market have switched their direct-to-consumer marketing focus to their latest products.

Efficacy on key Alzheimer’s disease symptoms such as cognitive and functional deficits was considered the primary factor when deciding upon a treatment. However, a new drug with symptomatic efficacy would need to be differentiated from the existing cholinesterase inhibitors for it to find widespread use.

Report Details:

Prescribing Influences: Alzheimer's Disease - Alleviating Symptoms Remains the Goal for Prescribers

Published: June 2011

Pages: 45

Price: US$ 3,800.00

Report Sample Abstract

Current treatments are only palliative and do not prolong survival

All of the approved treatments for Alzheimer’s disease possess a symptomatic mode of action, in that they target the cognitive and functional deficits from which patients suffer. The underlying neurodegeneration continues to progress unabated and any symptomatic gains as a result of this treatment are often lost within a few years. Despite the cognitive enhancement observed with the current Alzheimer’s disease therapies, the prognosis is bleak, with patients’ life expectancy ranging from 5–20 years following the onset of symptoms (Schellenberg, 1995). The average duration of Alzheimer’s disease from onset of symptoms to death is 10 years.

There can often be a significant delay between onset of symptoms, presentation, and disease diagnosis

In 2006, Datamonitor found that neurologists estimate the mean time from onset of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms to initial presentation to a clinician is 12 months. This lag between the first symptoms and presentation to a physician can be attributed to patients and their family mistaking general lapses in cognition or memory as signs of normal aging.

Furthermore, there may also be an element of disease denial, choosing to ignore the initial signs of Alzheimer’s disease for fear of the consequences of a positive diagnosis. Similarly, there can also be a lengthy waiting period between initial presentation and an accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease; surveyed neurologists in the seven major markets (the US, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK) estimated that the mean duration is 8 months (Datamonitor, Stakeholder Insight: Alzheimer’s Disease, December 2006, DMHC2255).

More information can be found in the report “Prescribing Influences: Alzheimer's Disease - Alleviating Symptoms Remains the Goal for Prescribers” by Datamonitor.

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