Objective: To investigate the efficacy and tolerability of galantamine, using a slow dose escalation schedule of up to 8 weeks, in 978 patients with mild to moderate AD. Methods: A 5-month multicenter, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. Following a 4-week placebo run-in, patients were randomized to one of four treatment arms: placebo or galantamine escalated to final maintenance doses of 8, 16, or 24 mg/day. Outcome measures included the cognitive subscale of the AD Assessment Scale (ADAS-cog), the Clinician's Interview-Based Impression of Change plus Caregiver Input (CIBIC-plus), the AD Cooperative Study Activities of Daily Living inventory, and the Neuropsychiatric Inventory. Standard safety evaluations and adverse event monitoring were carried out. Results: After 5 months, the galantamine-placebo differences on ADAS-cog were 3.3 points for the 16 mg/day group and 3.6 points for the 24 rag/day group (p < 0.001 versus placebo, both doses). Compared with placebo, the galantamine 16- and 24-mg/day groups also had a significantly better outcome on CIBIC-plus, activities of daily living, and behavioral symptoms. Treatment discontinuations due to adverse events were low in all galantamine groups (6 to 10%) and comparable with the discontinuation rate in the placebo group (7%). The incidence of adverse events in the galantamine groups, notably gastrointestinal symptoms, was low and most adverse events were mild. Conclusions: Galantamine 16 and 24 mg/day significantly benefits the cognitive, functional, and behavioral symptoms of AD as compared with placebo. Slow dose escalation appears to enhance the tolerability of galantamine, minimizing the incidence and severity of adverse events.
- Acetylcholinesterase inhibition
- Allosteric modulation
- Dose escalation
- Nicotinic receptors
- Randomized controlled trial