The objectives of the present study were first to determine the feasibility of conducting a randomized clinical trial of 5 mg/day donepezil in patients with mild to moderate dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and second, to obtain preliminary data of possible intervention effects. Twelve patients with probable DLB were evaluated at weeks 4, 8, and 12 using modified Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) with an extra domain to additionally evaluate fluctuation in cognitive functions (NPI-11); the Japanese version of Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale (ADAS-J cog); and the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). The NPI-11 scores were significantly improved at weeks 8 and 12 compared with baseline. Despite a significant improvement in ADAS-J-cog at week 4, no more improvement was noted thereafter. Deterioration was not noted in UPDRS scores. Donepezil is expected to be therapeutically useful and safe in treating DLB patients, indicating marked improvements in behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) rather than in cognitive deficit, without deteriorating parkinsonism.
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