Less Than Half of Newly Diagnosed Alzheimer’s Disease Patients Begin Drug Therapy within a Year of Diagnosis

Less Than Half of Newly Diagnosed Alzheimer’s Disease Patients Begin Drug Therapy within a Year of Diagnosis

Decision Resources Group

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Decision Resources, one of the world’s leading research and advisory firms focusing on pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds through examination of U.S. patient-level claims data that less than half of newly diagnosed Alzheimer’s disease patients began drug therapy within a year of diagnosis. According to , on average, it took 72 days for a newly diagnosed Alzheimer’s disease patient to begin drug therapy.

“Physicians recommend patients initiate Alzheimer’s disease therapyas early as possible in the course of the disease in order to maximize the benefits of treatment, so delays in not starting drug treatment within a year of diagnosis are most likely patient-driven,” said Director Nicole Westphal, Ph.D. “For patients who do begin treatment within the first year of diagnosis, delays may be attributed to the fact that they may first see a primary care physician abouttheir Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. While primary care physicians are increasingly comfortable diagnosing and treating the disease, many will still refer a patient to a specialist for confirmation of the diagnosis which may delay treatment initiation.”

The analysis also finds acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs) are the most commonly prescribed drug class across the first three lines of therapy for newly diagnosed patients. Additionally, Forest Laboratories’ N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist Namenda has been experiencing increasing use in later lines of therapy among newly diagnosed patients, capturing approximately one-third of patient share in the second and third lines of therapy.Within these lines of therapy, more than three-quarters of Namenda’s use is in combination with another Alzheimer’s disease therapy.

The analysis is part of the Treatment Algorithms Insight Series, which through examination of U.S. longitudinal patient-level claims data, provides exceptional insight into physicians’ prescribing trends, from diagnosis through multiple courses of treatment, for a specific disease. Quarterly data analysis reveals progression rates of patients through each line of therapy, the share each brand commands by line of therapy and add-versus-switch patterns to key brands. In addition to examining the treatment algorithm of recently treated patients, also reviews historical patient-level claims data for recently treated patients defined as patients treated for Alzheimer’s disease in the fourth quarter of 2011.

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