A report just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA note that although the role of vitamin E has for treating moderately severe Alzheimer’s Disease had been esetablished, it’s efficacy had not been properly assessed in mild-to moderate disease — where interventions could potentially make a big difference in terms of a patient’s level of independence and the amount of caregiver time needed. Maurice W. Dysken, MD Minneapolis VA Health Care System, Minneapolis, Minnesota reported his group’s comparison trial looking at patients randomised to Vitamin E, the drug memantine, both of these, or placebo:
“What we found with vitamin E alone compared to placebo was that there was a delay in progression by about six months over the average period of time patients were in the study — which was a little over two years. We found this only in the vitamin E group — we did not find it in the memantine group alone or the combination compared to placebo ”
Dr Dysken’s research sponsored by the VA Cooperative Studies Program also found reassuring data on the question of toxicity in the group of patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s Disease treated with Vitamin E:
“We were very concerned about safety in large part because of a publication in 2005 — a meta-analysis that suggested there was increased mortality in doses of vitamin E above 400 international units. We have good safety data from our study: out of 613 patients who were randomised 128 died during the study, and we found mortality was least in the vitamin E group”
While the new study does not offer full proof of the efficacy of vitamin E in this setting, Maurice Dysken told AudioMedica.com there were clinical implications coming from the study:
“It should be considered and offered to patients with mild to moderate Alzheimers disease. It’s very important to point out that this is not a prevention trial: we’re not saying that this is going to be useful more for patients who are worried about having Alzheimer’s — but actually do not have the illness: we’re recommending that this be done under the guidance of a primary care provider,” he said.
SOURCE “Effect of Vitamin E and Memantine on Functional Decline in Alzheimer Disease The TEAM-AD VA Cooperative Randomized Trial”
JAMA. 2014;311(1):33-44. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.282834
Maurice W. Dysken, MD
Minneapolis VA Health Care System, Minneapolis, Minnesota.