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Page last updated at 07:37 GMT, Thursday, 8 March 2012

Alzheimer's drug benefit 'significant'


A new study has found that people with Alzheimer's disease could benefit "significantly" from taking drugs that many sufferers are being denied at the moment.

Professor Robert Howard of Kings College London, lead author of the study which was published in the New England Medical Journal, told the Today programmes John Humphrys that the drug Aricept, prescribed to patients in the mild to moderate stages, is withdrawn in the severe stages under guidelines from medicines regulator NICE.

But trials have shown that patients who continued to take the drug during the transition point between moderate to severe had "significant" improvements in their thinking abilities and function.

The cost of the drugs will be much cheaper in the future at a cost about a hundred pounds a year, he added, as they can now be produced generically.

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