donepezil and Forest Laboratories’ Namenda Lead All Other Therapies Approved for Alzheimer’s Disease by a Wide Margin in U

In the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease, Polypharmacy Increases Across Lines of Therapy, According to New Analysis from Decision Resources

BURLINGTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Decision Resources, one of the world’s leading research and advisory firms focusing on pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChEI) donepezil (Eisai/Pfizer’s Aricept, generics) and Forest Laboratories’ N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist Namenda lead all other therapies approved for Alzheimer’s disease by a wide margin in the treatment of newly diagnosed Alzheimer’s disease patients. According to analysis from Treatment Algorithms in Alzheimer’s Disease, AChEIs are the most frequently prescribed therapy for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, with donepezil capturing the majority of patient share in the class. Meanwhile, Namenda, which is approved for the treatment of moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease in the United States, is often prescribed in combination with AChEI therapy.

The analysis finds that Namenda captures a modest 15.9 percent patient share in the first line but increases to 40.9 percent in the second line among newly diagnosed patients moving to each line of therapy within a year of treatment initiation.

The analysis also finds that in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, polypharmacy increases across the lines of therapy, from modest polypharmacy in the first line (118.4 percent total patient share) to 176.3 percent in the second line and 188.5 percent in the third line.

“Often, Alzheimer’s disease patients initiate treatment with an AChEI and will receive AChEI therapy continually; other therapies are added if the disease progresses or if comorbid conditions such as depression are present,” said Decision Resources Analyst Georgiana L. Kuhlmann, S.M. “While the increase in patient share for Namenda in the second-line reflects its frequent off-label use as an adjunctive therapy to an AChEI in the milder stages of the disease, it could also reflect the worsening of patients’ disease, and as Namenda is approved for the treatment of moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease, physicians may feel it is appropriate to prescribe Namenda as a monotherapy at that time.”

About Treatment Algorithm Insight Series

Through examination of patient-level claims data, Decision Resources provides exceptional insight into physicians' prescribing trends and the factors that drive therapy product choice, from diagnosis through multiple courses of treatment, for a specific disease. Beginning in 2011, Treatment Algorithms analysis will be updated quarterly to provide ongoing trending of product utilization by line of therapy and new therapy initiations.

About Decision Resources

Decision Resources ( is a world leader in market research publications, advisory services and consulting designed to help clients shape strategy, allocate resources and master their chosen markets. Decision Resources is a Decision Resources, Inc. company.

About Decision Resources, Inc.

Decision Resources, Inc. is a cohesive portfolio of companies that offers best-in-class, high-value information and insights on important sectors of the healthcare industry. Clients rely on this analysis and data to make informed decisions. Please visit Decision Resources, Inc. at

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Decision Resources
Lisa Osgood, 781-993-2606
[email protected]
Decision Resources, Inc.
Christopher Comfort, 781-993-2597
[email protected]

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Massachusetts

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Health  Pharmaceutical  General Health