Acute response to cholinergic challenge predicts long-term response to galantamine treatment in patients with Alzheimer's disease

Anne Catrien Baakman, Carmen Gavan, Lotte van Doeselaar, Marieke de Kam, Karen Broekhuizen, Ovidiu Bajenaru, Laura Camps, Eleonora L. Swart, Kees Kalisvaart, Niki Schoonenboom, Evelien Lemstra, Philip Scheltens, Adam Cohen, Joop van Gerven, Geert Jan Groeneveld

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Aims: Cholinesterase inhibitors (CEIs) have been shown to improve cognitive functioning in Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients, but are associated with multiple side effects and only 20–40% of the patients clinically improve. In this study, we aimed to investigate the acute pharmacodynamic (PD) effects of administration of a single dose of galantamine on central nervous system (CNS) functioning in mild to moderate AD patients and its potential to predict long-term treatment response. Methods: This study consisted of a challenge and treatment phase. In the challenge phase, a single dose of 16 mg galantamine was administered to 50 mild to moderate AD patients in a double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over fashion. Acute PD effects were monitored up to 5 hours after administration with use of the NeuroCart CNS test battery and safety and pharmacokinetics were assessed. In the treatment phase, patients were treated with open-label galantamine according to regular clinical care. After 6 months of galantamine treatment, patients were categorized as either responder or as non-responder based on their minimental state examination (MMSE), neuropsychiatric inventory (NPI) and disability assessment in dementia (DAD) scores. An analysis of covariance was performed to study the difference in acute PD effects during the challenge phase between responders and non-responders. Results: A single dose of galantamine significantly reduced saccadic reaction time (−0.0099; 95% CI = −0.0195, −0.0003; P =.0430), absolute frontal EEG parameters in alpha (−14.9; 95% CI = −21.0, −8.3; P =.0002), beta (−12.6; 95% CI = −19.4, −5.3; P =.0019) and theta (−17.9; 95% CI = −25.0, −10.0; P =.0001) frequencies. Relative frontal (−1.669; 95% CI = −2.999, −0.339; P =.0156) and occipital (−1.856; 95% CI = −3.339, −0.372; P =.0166) EEG power in theta frequency and relative occipital EEG power in the gamma frequency (1.316; 95% CI = 0.158, 2.475; P =.0273) also increased significantly compared to placebo. Acute decreases of absolute frontal alpha (−20.4; 95% CI = −31.6, −7.47; P =.0046), beta (−15.7; 95% CI = −28.3, −0.93; P =.0390) and theta (−25.9; 95% CI = −38.4, −10.9; P =.0024) EEG parameters and of relative frontal theta power (−3.27%; 95% CI = −5.96, −0.58; P =.0187) on EEG significantly distinguished responders (n = 11) from non-responders (n = 32) after 6 months. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that acute PD effects after single dose of galantamine are correlated with long-term treatment effects and that patients who demonstrate a reduction in EEG power in the alpha and theta frequency after a single administration of galantamine 16 mg will most likely respond to treatment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish journal of clinical pharmacology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Dec 2021

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