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Alzheimer’s Disease and Its Treatment With a Novel Transdermal Patch Therapy: Survey of Caregiver Experiences

Pablo Martínez-Lage, MD, PhD, and Mike Pepp, MA

ABSTRACT

Objective: To investigate experiences and perceptions of caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease using transdermal patch therapy.

Method: Assessment methods for the pilot study comprised an interview between the caregiver and a moderator, an interview between 1 moderator and 2 caregivers, or a video diary. The subsequent quantitative study involved a 45-minute telephone questionnaire. For both studies, participants were required to be the principal caregiver of a patient with Alzheimer’s disease who had been receiving transdermal patch therapy for at least 3 months. Their responses were grouped into the following 6 themes: interpersonal relationships, impact on caregivers, from symptoms to treatment, help and support for caregivers, daily routine, and caregiver experience with the patch.

Results: Overall, 206 caregivers were enrolled from France, Germany, Greece, Spain, and the United States between July 2009 and January 2011 (pilot study: N = 56; quantitative study: N = 150). The studies revealed that caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease experienced emotional and practical impacts, and many felt that they had not received sufficient information from health care providers about Alzheimer’s disease, treatment options, or available support. In the quantitative study, 47% of caregivers who had been caring for the patient prior to diagnosis (61% of total respondents) felt that there had been a delay in seeking medical advice, frequently due to slow onset of symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. In both studies, patch therapy was considered more convenient and easier to administer than oral treatments. The practical and efficacy advantages of the patch often translated into emotional benefits.

Conclusions: With recent data highlighting the importance of early initiation of symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease therapy and the importance of reaching an optimal therapeutic dose, reasons for delay in treatment initiation need to be explored. Information that patients and caregivers receive at the time of diagnosis may aid therapeutic decisions.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2012;14(4):doi:10.4088/PCC.11m01142

Submitted: January 18, 2011; accepted March 6, 2012.

Published online: August 16, 2012.

Corresponding author: Pablo Martínez-Lage, MD, PhD, Department of Neurology, Center for Research and Advanced Therapies, Fundación CITA-Alzheimer, San Sebastian, Spain (pmlage@cita-alzheimer.org).