arznei-telegramm 2009; 40: 84


Memantine (AXURA, EBIXA) useless in Alzheimer's disease: "My Nobel prize for literature" is Lundbeck's current advertising for EBIXA (memantine). According to the visual message, it is claimed that EBIXA enables an Alzheimer's patient to write a note to his wife once again (Lundbeck: Advertising for EBIXA. Nervenarzt 2009; 80: No. 8). The new final report by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Healthcare [IQWiG] - similar to our last assessment (a-t 2007; 38: 59) - however shows that such claims fall into the realm of fantasy: "There is no proof that memantine treatment has any benefit in patients with Alzheimer's dementia. This applies equally to patients with moderate and severe Alzheimer's dementia." This result is based on the accessible study data. Furthermore negative studies which are still unpublished are denied the general public as well as the IQWiG by the manufacturer (IQWiG: Memantin bei ALZHEIMER-Demenz [Memantine in Alzheimer's dementia]. Report No. 59, as at 8 July 2009). In Germany memantine is nevertheless prescribed more often than the most prescribed cholinesterase inhibitor donepezil (ARICEPT; SCHWABE, U. in SCHWABE, U., PAFFRATH, D. [eds.]: "Arzneiverordnungs-Report 2008" [Medicines Prescribing Report], Springer, Heidelberg 2008, page 308). In our opinion the proof of benefit is also inadequate for cholinesterase inhibitors, whose efficacy is attested by the IQWiG with regard to cognitive function and which are licensed in Germany only for mild to moderate stages of Alzheimer's disease (a-t 2006; 37: 110).

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