Saving the Mind From MS

MS cognitive decline does not respond to Aricept

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) One of the frustrating symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) is cognitive decline. Many patients have trouble with concentration, judgment and memory. Researchers wanted to learn if a drug that's effective with early dementia may help MS patients.

A recent study has found that Aricept, an effective medication for treating early-stage Alzheimer's, is ineffective at treating multiple sclerosis-related cognitive symptoms in patients who score poorly on auditory/verbal tests.

"Multiple sclerosis patients should avoid high levels of stress."

Lauren Krupp, M.D., a professor of neurology and psychology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, led the study, which was conducted at multiple centers throughout the northeastern region of the United States.

Participants included 120 MS patients between the ages of 18 and 59 who had performed poorly on an auditory/verbal test.

The researchers divided participants into two groups, one receiving Aricept at 10 mg per day and the other receiving a placebo (sugar pill) daily.

Patients were assessed for their memory and cognitive abilities before the start of the study and after 24 weeks. A variety of tests, including objective tests as well as self-assessments, were administered. 

There was no significant difference in memory or cognitive ability between the control group taking the placebo and the group taking Aricept at the end of the 24-week study.

This study provides what is considered "Class I" evidence that Aricept does not improve memory or cognition in multiple sclerosis patients who score poorly on auditory/verbal tests.

The study was published in the journal Neurology.
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Review Date: 
December 19, 2011
Last Updated:
December 20, 2011