Effects on caregiver burden of a donepezil hydrochloride dosage increase to 10 mg/day in patients with Alzheimer’s disease

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Abstract

Background: In this study, we evaluated changes in functioning and caregiver burden in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients after a dosage increase that was made based on pharmacists’ evaluation of AD patients’ behavior in daily life. Methods: Pharmacists used a checklist, a questionnaire, and the Repetitive Saliva Swallowing Test (RSST) to gather data on the daily life of AD patients taking donepezil 5 mg/day and their caregivers. In 27 cases, pharmacists suggested a dosage change to 10 mg/day to AD patients’ physicians. Pharmacists then evaluated these patients for 16 weeks after the increase to determine changes in functional assessment staging, caregiver burden, and swallowing function. Results: During the 16-week study, 20 of the 27 patients showed at least one-stage improvement in relation to the five assessed aspects of daily life (time/place, speech, bathing, dressing, and toileting). The mean score for caregiver burden due to personal strain was significantly lower after the dosage increase than before (5.15±3.76 at baseline; from 3.89±3.42 at week 4 to 3.59±3.90 at week 16; P<0.05), as was the mean score due to role strain (2.19±2.80 at baseline; 1.56±2.64 at week 8; P<0.05). After the dosage increase, the impaired swallowing function that accompanies AD was improved in the patients with swallowing problems, as indicated by a higher mean RSST score (1.22±0.67 at baseline; from 2.78±1.72 at week 4 to 2.78±1.79 at week 16; P<0.05). Conclusion: The dosage increase not only decreased caregiver burden, but also appeared to improve impaired swallowing function. Medication therapy management by pharmacists of AD patients, including the use of a checklist, contributed to the correct use of donepezil and improved quality of life for caregivers.

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Nakamura, K., Watanabe, N., Ohkawa, H., Ando, M., Ogura, Y., Funabiki, S., … Yamamura, K. (2014). Effects on caregiver burden of a donepezil hydrochloride dosage increase to 10 mg/day in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Patient Preference and Adherence, 8, 1223–1228. https://doi.org/10.2147/PPA.S69750

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