ICAD: Patch Smoothes Alzheimer's Drug Delivery

July 20, 2006

MADRID, Spain -- An Alzheimer's drug transdermal patch appears to be as effective as capsules and eases compliance worries, researchers said here.

MADRID, July 20 -- An investigational transdermal patch to deliver an Alzheimer's drug appears to be as effective as currently marketed Exelon (rivastigmine) capsules and eases compliance worries, researchers said here.

"The rivastigmine patch provides similar efficacy to the highest capsule doses, and was superior to placebo," said Bengt Winblad, MD, of Karolinska Institute in Stockholm reported at the at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders here.

"A transdermal patch may prove to be the best way to deliver rivastigmine to treat Alzheimer's disease," Dr. Winblad said in presenting the results of the IDEAL (Investigation of TransDermal Exelon in Alzheimer's disease).

Howard Fillit, M.D., executive director of the Institute for the Study of the Aging in New York, who moderated a press briefing on the patch, said it had the potential to not only help patients get the medicine they need but also to ease caregiver burden.

"Many Alzheimer's patients are often agitated or have behavioral issues," Dr. Fillit said. "The patch can be placed on a patient's back where it is either not noticed or not reachable." Dr. Fillit was not involved in the IDEAL study.

In the trial, 1,195 patients, age 50 to 85 with a score of 10 to 20 in the Mini Mental State Examination, consistent with moderate Alzheimer's Disease wore various patches for six months. The patients were divided into four treatment groups of about 300 persons: One group received two capsules of Exelon at 6 mg a day; a second group was given the Patch 10 that delivers 9.5 mg of Exelon over 24 hours; a third group was treated with the Patch 20 that delivers 17.4 mg of Exelon over 24 hours, and a fourth groups received placebo pills or patches.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study compared safety, efficacy and tolerability of the patches with placebo and the capsules.

Dr. Winblad said that all the active treatments were statistically significantly superior to placebo (P