Donepezil can improve daily activities and promote rehabilitation for severe Alzheimer's patients in long-term care health facilities

Kenichi Meguro, Yoshitaka Ouchi, Kyoko Akanuma, Mitsue Meguro, Mari Kasai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Cholinesterase inhibitors can delay the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Several clinical trials of the drug in AD have consistently reported clinically positive effects. A combining effect with psychosocial intervention was reported in AD patients. Since a therapeutic approach or rehabilitation combined with cholinesterase inhibitors for severe AD patients remains controversial, we performed a prospective intervention for patients in Long-Term Care Health Facilities (LTCHF). Methods: Two LTCHFs (N1, N2) were enrolled. N1 is a 126-bed facility that does not treat with donepezil but rather with psychosocial intervention (reality orientation and reminiscence). N2 is a 150-bed facility with a 50-bed special dementia unit, in which the physician can prescribe donepezil. On top of the similar psychosocial intervention, rehabilitation is performed in N2. Thirty-two severe AD patients (MMSE <6) in N1 and N2 (16 vs. 16) were compared for the effect of donepezil (10 mg/d for 3 months) with or without psychosocial intervention (n =8 vs. 8 for each facility). The Vitality Index was used to assess daily activities and the introduction of rehabilitation. Results: The response ratio (MMSE 3+) of donepezil was 37.5% in N2. The combination of donepezil with the psychosocial intervention improved the Vitality Index total score, and Communication, Eating, and Rehabilitation subscores (Wilcoxon, p 0.016, 0.038, 0.023, and 0.011, respectively). Most of them were smoothly introduced to rehabilitation, and the proportion of accidental falls decreased. Psychosocial intervention in N1 without the drug only improved the total score (Wilcoxon, p =0.046). Conclusions: A combined therapeutic approach of donepezil and psychosocial intervention can have a positive effect, even for severe patients through the introduction of rehabilitation and decreasing accidental falls. However, these findings require replication in a larger cohort.

Original languageEnglish
Article number243
JournalBMC Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Dec 17
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cholinesterase inhibitors
  • Donepezil
  • Life expectancy
  • Nursing home

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Donepezil can improve daily activities and promote rehabilitation for severe Alzheimer's patients in long-term care health facilities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this