Predicting the neural effect of switching from donepezil to galantamine based on single-photon emission computed tomography findings in patients with Alzheimer's disease

Mizuki Oka, Shutaro Nakaaki, Atsushi Negi, Jun Miyata, Atsuo Nakagawa, Nobutsugu Hirono, Masaru Mimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: A number of neuroimaging studies have addressed the specific effect of treatment with cholinesterase inhibitors on the frontal lobe in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, the neural effects of cholinesterase inhibitors on both apathy and executive dysfunction remain unclear. We examined whether baseline regional cerebral blood flow, as determined by using single-photon emission computed tomography, is capable of predicting changes in apathy and executive dysfunction in response to AD patients switching from donepezil to galantamine therapy. Methods: We conducted a 24-week, prospective, open-label study of AD patients treated with galantamine who did not respond to previous treatment with donepezil. Single-photon emission computed tomography was performed at baseline, and behaviour and cognitive assessments including the Mini-Mental State Examination, the Japanese version of the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale, the Frontal Assessment Battery, the Neuropsychiatry Inventory Brief Questionnaire Form, and the Dysexecutive Questionnaire were conducted at three time points (baseline and after 12 and 24 weeks of galantamine therapy). Results: After galantamine therapy, the Neuropsychiatry Inventory Brief Questionnaire Form scores (apathy, irritability, and aberrant motor symptoms) and the Dysexecutive Questionnaire score improved significantly. The single-photon emission computed tomography findings showed that lower baseline regional cerebral blood flow values in several frontal areas, including the dorsolateral and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, the anterior cingulate, and the orbitofrontal cortex, predicted greater reductions in the score for apathy (distress) on the Neuropsychiatry Inventory Brief Questionnaire Form and the Dysexecutive Questionnaire score after patients switched from donepezil to galantamine therapy. Conclusions: Our study suggests that galantamine therapy, unlike donepezil, is characterized by a dual mechanism of action that may increase acetylcholine and the nicotinic receptor-modulation effect within the frontal lobe, both of which are associated with apathy and executive dysfunction in AD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-134
Number of pages14
JournalPsychogeriatrics
Volume16
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar 1

Keywords

  • Apathy
  • Donepezil
  • Executive function
  • Galantamine
  • SPECT
  • Switching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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