A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of diclofenac/misoprostol in Alzheimer’s disease.

BACKGROUND: Previous studies suggest a potential benefit from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Prescribing NSAIDs, however, carries the risk of significant gastrointestinal adverse events.

OBJECTIVES: To study whether treatment with an NSAID prevents expected decline in AD patients and evaluate whether co-administration of the gastro-protective agent, misoprostol, with an NSAID is safe in AD.

METHODS: The efficacy and safety of diclofenac in combination with misoprostol (D/M) was evaluated in 41 patients with mild-moderate AD in a prospective 25-week, randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Efficacy measures comprised the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale cognitive and noncognitive subsections, Global Deterioration Scale, Clinical Global Impression of Change, Mini-Mental State Examination, Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, Physical Self-Maintenance Scale, and a caregiver-rated Global Impression of Change.

ESULTS: There were no group differences with any of the outcome measures in an intent-to-treat analysis. There were some nonsignificant trends for the placebo group to have deteriorated more than the D/M-treated patients. Withdrawal rates were 12 of 24 in the D/M group and 2 of 17 in the placebo group. There were no serious drug-related adverse events.

CONCLUSIONS: This pilot study, with small treatment numbers, did not demonstrate a significant effect of NSAID treatment in AD, but the trends observed justify further investigations with a larger number of participants. D/M is safe in AD patients, but its tolerability is not optimal.

Source: Neurology 1999 Jul 13;53(1):197-201

PMID: 10408559, UI: 99335044

(Department of Clinical Pharmacology, St. Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.)

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