Clinical experience of galantamine in dementia: a series of case reports
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OBJECTIVE: To use case studies to add the benefit of personal experience with galantamine to published literature and to demonstrate the type of patients that may benefit from this treatment. METHODS: We describe eleven patients, aged 57-90 years, fulfilling the consensus diagnostic criteria for probable Alzheimer's disease, mixed dementia, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia or Parkinson's dementia. All patients were treated with galantamine that may enhance cholinergic function in the brain by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase and potentiating the effects of acetylcholine at nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Clinical features were rated according to eight assessment scales in old age psychiatry and additional information was obtained from family and other carers. In some cases caregiver distress was measured. RESULTS: All patients described showed a general improvement in cognition and neuropsychiatric symptoms, although observed improvements and effects were not always reflected by the results of formal assessments. Several patients became more independent, particularly in their activities of daily living, and treatment was felt to have helped maintain independence in their home environment, either alone or with their family or carers. One man continued in employment. Adverse events included nausea and vomiting. CONCLUSIONS: Outcomes in this case series indicate that galantamine is well tolerated and highlight aspects of the different side-effect profiles of the anticholinesterase inhibitors. Subjective benefits were not always apparent from objective measures. These case studies demonstrate the type of patients that may benefit from galantamine.
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