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AAN: Vitamin E May Improve Survival in Alzheimer's

High doses, especially in combination with a cholinesterase inhibitor, may reduce mortality

WEDNESDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with Alzheimer's disease, treatment regimens that include high doses of vitamin E are associated with significantly improved survival, according to research presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Chicago.

Between 1990 and 2004, Valory Pavlik, Ph.D., of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues analyzed the survival history of 847 probable or mixed Alzheimer's disease patients, about two-thirds of whom took 2,000 IU per day of vitamin E with a cholinesterase inhibitor, about 15 percent of whom did not take any anti-dementia drug, and fewer than 10 percent of whom took vitamin E alone.

After a median follow-up of 4.9 years, the researchers found that vitamin E with or without a cholinesterase inhibitor was associated a significantly lower mortality rate (adjusted hazard ratio 0.74). Compared to no drug treatment, they also found that vitamin E in combination with a cholinesterase inhibitor was associated with a lower mortality rate (hazard ratio, 0.79) than either vitamin E use alone (HR, 0.82) or cholinesterase inhibitor use alone (HR, 1.1).

"Vitamin E has been shown to delay Alzheimer's disease progression at a dose of 2,000 IU per day," the authors write. "Recent studies, however, have raised questions about the safety of this dose level and overall efficacy of vitamin E in Alzheimer's disease treatment."


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