Efficacy and Safety of Psychostimulants for Alzheimer's Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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Introduction Several reports of the effectiveness of the use of psychostimulants for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD) are available. Methods A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted including double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials. Outcomes were the improvement of apathy scales score (primary), mini-mental state examination (MMSE) score, activities of daily living scale score, Zarit burden interview score, all-cause discontinuation, discontinuation due to adverse events, and incidence of at least 1 adverse event. Results Three methylphenidate studies and 1 modaï nil study were identified (n=156). Results from combined psychostimulants were superior to placebo in the improvement of apathy scales score (standardized mean differences [SMD]=-0.63 (-1.22, -0.04), p=0.04, all studies) and the MMSE score (SMD=-0.58 (-1.14, -0.02), p=0.04, 3 methylphenidate studies). The modaï nil study was excluded from the meta-analysis for the improvement of apathy scales score; therefore, the effect size increased (SMD=-0.82 (-1.43, -0.20), p=0.009). However, no significant differences were observed in terms of other outcomes, including safety outcomes between the treatment groups. Discussion Methylphenidate would be effective in treating apathy and cognitive impairment in AD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-114
Number of pages6
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01-05-2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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