Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Generic versions of Aricept (donepezil) approved by FDA

The FDA has announced that generic versions of Aricept (donepezil) have now been approved for patients who have Alzheimer's disease. Aricept was one of the first FDA-approved "acetylcholinesterase inhibitor" for patients who have Alzheimer's disease. Since then, we've seen quite a few other acetylcholinesterase inhibitors enter the market. Four cholinesterase inhibitors: tacrine, donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine are currently approved by the FDA but tacrine is rarely used due to toxicities.

Now that we have an option to use a generic drug for patients with Alzheimer's disease, I wonder if we will see more patients receiving treatment for their dementia. Drug cost has always been a barrier for older adults (even if they have Medicare), but generics are often a fraction of the cost compared to branded drugs, so this should be interesting as we move forward.

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