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23 October 2017

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Int J Med Sci 2012; 9(3):248-255. doi:10.7150/ijms.4363

Research Paper

Donepezil Combined with Natural Hirudin Improves the Clinical Symptoms of Patients with Mild-to-Moderate Alzheimer's Disease: A 20-Week Open-Label Pilot Study

De-qiang Li, Yu-ping Zhou, Han Yang

Department of Integrated Internal Medicine, The First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310003, Zhejiang, P.R. China.

Abstract

Aim: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of donepezil plus natural hirudin in patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's Disease. Methods: In the 20-week, randomized, open-label and controlled study, 84 patients received either donepezil (5 mg/day for the first 4 weeks and 10 mg/day thereafter) or donepezil plus natural hirudin (3 g/day) treatment. Efficacy was reflected by the change of the total scores of Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale cognitive subscale (ADAS-Cog), Activities of Daily Life (ADL) and Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI). Results: The patients with the donepezil plus natural hirudin treatment showed more significant improvement in the daily activities and the decline of the cognition than those with donepezil treatment. Significant difference was present in the groups since the 8th week. No group difference was found in the NPI change. However, within the hirudin treatment group, more powerful efficacy including NPI assessment was found in the patients with vascular risk factors (VRF) as comparing to with those without VRF. The combination of donepezil and natural hirudin was well tolerated. The dropout rate was greater in the donepezil and natural hirudin (50%) treatment group than in the donepezil (39%) treatment group. Similar result was found in the incidence of adverse events (23.8% vs 19.0%), but there was no statistical difference between the two groups. Adverse events were the most common reason for the dropout. Although hemorrhage and hypersensitiveness were more common in donepezil plus Maixuekang treatment (11.9% and 7.1%) group than in donepezil treatment (2.4% and 2.4%) group, no significant difference was present between the two groups. Economic problem was another important reason for the patients' withdrawal. Conclusions: Compared with the donepezil treatment in the patients with mild-to-moderate AD, our results suggest that donepezil combined with natural hirudin may improve the treatment effects in the ADL, BPSD and cognition of the patients. Furthermore, this joint treatment is safe.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease, donepezil, hirudin.

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How to cite this article:
Li Dq, Zhou Yp, Yang H. Donepezil Combined with Natural Hirudin Improves the Clinical Symptoms of Patients with Mild-to-Moderate Alzheimer's Disease: A 20-Week Open-Label Pilot Study. Int J Med Sci 2012; 9(3):248-255. doi:10.7150/ijms.4363. Available from http://www.medsci.org/v09p0248.htm