NICE reverse Alzheimer’s symptoms ruling and make drugs available

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Incredible as it may sound, up until now, people suffering from early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease have been denied certain drugs on the NHS, even though these drugs cost less than £3 a day and could slow down the progression of the disease.

Doctors couldn’t do anything and could only wait until the symptoms became more severe before offering them the medication.

However, now the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in a landmark decision have reversed their earlier ruling to ration these drugs and are now extending the use of three drugs for mild cases of Alzheimer’s and one for moderate cases.

The new guidance says that the three drugs, Aricept, Exelon and Reminy should now be available on the NHS for people in the early stages of the disease and a fourth one, Ebixa, for people in moderate and late stages of the disease.

Can you imagine the misery and hopelessness felt by those who were diagnosed with early symptoms of Alzheimer’s such as mild memory loss and confusion, and then left to wait the inevitable worsening of their symptoms before being offered any help?

“This is a momentous day for thousands of people with Alzheimer’s and their carers”. The Telegraph quotes Ruth Sutherland, Interim Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society as saying about NICE’s decision.

“We’re disappointed that thousands of people have been unable to access treatments for the past four years which could have improved their quality of life.”

So why did NICE change their minds?

According to NICE Chief Executive Sir Andrew Dillon it is because clinical trials have continued to show how effective these drugs are.

“In addition, we now have more information about the costs of living with and treating this very distressing disease, as it progresses through its mild, moderate and severe stages.

“Our increased confidence in the benefits and costs associated with the use of the three drugs for treating mild and moderate stages of the disease has enabled us to make positive recommendation for their use in mild disease” said Dillon.

Ok so it’s good news for sure but a little too late for the thousands of people who in the past were diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s and who were basically told to live with it and come back when they got worse.

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