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Patients refused Alzheimer's drugs

15th May 2007

Drugs which have been found to benefit sufferers of Alzheimer's disease are currently being denied to patients by the NHS.

The drugs, known as cholinesterase inhibitors, are donepezil, rivastigmine, tacrine and galantamine. They were trialled on 12 patients to examine their worth as a treatment for Alzheimer's.

The study revealed that those taking the drugs had 70 per cent less protein deposits in the brain which are a symptom of the disease.

Various charities are fighting to make the drugs available to sufferers. The Alzheimer's Society has taken the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to court to contest the decision.

They will return to court next month to continue the battle.

Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, said: "People with Alzheimer's disease and their carers have known about the life-changing benefits of these drugs for some time now and this study provides the first hard evidence of the physical benefits of the same treatments."