Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is one of the most common neurological conditions in the elderly and imparts considerable strain on worldwide healthcare resources. For the estimated 2 million people in the United States who have AD, procognitive therapy is limited to four symptomatic agents (e.g., donepezil [Eisai/Pfizer’s Aricept, other brands, generics]) that deliver modest efficacy of limited duration on cognitive deficits and do not impact the underlying course of the disease. Polypharmacy is common in AD and typically increases over time as physicians seek to alleviate cognitive and other comorbid (e.g., behavioral) symptoms with off-label treatments. Using national patient-level claims data, this report analyzes clinical practice and physician adherence to the treatment guidelines by exploring the use of key therapies in the newly diagnosed and recently treated AD patient populations. Among the newly diagnosed patients, the report provides a quantitative analysis of treatment patterns and share by line of therapy, as well as progression between lines, duration of treatment on each line, and use of concomitant treatment. Among recently treated patients, the report quantifies a drug’s source of business compared with its competitors and details which drugs precede others through an analysis of add-versus-switch patterns. Additional analyses explore persistency and compliance by therapy.

Questions Answered in This Report:

  • Newly diagnosed patients: Approximately 45% of AD patients begin treatment with a key therapy within a year of their initial diagnosis. What percentage of these patients progress to a second- or third-line drug within the first year? Which products capture the most patient share in the first, second, and third lines of treatment? How often is combination therapy used in each line of therapy?

  • Recently treated patients: Consistent with historical treatment patterns, the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor drug class continues to capture the greatest percentage of recently treated patient prescriptions. Which specific drugs garner the most patient share for recently treated AD patients? When do patients progress from one therapy to the next in AD, and how does this pattern differ between key drugs? Are most recently treated patients with each key brand coming through new (adds/switches) or continuing business?

  • Pathways to key therapies: Longitudinal claims data reveal use patterns of key therapies among recently treated AD patients over time. Which therapies have experienced market growth or decline over the key therapy periods studied? To what extent are key therapies prescribed concomitantly to recently treated patients, and with what other drugs are they prescribed to patients as adjuncts?


Primary patient-level data: Quantitative findings from our analysis of data covering approximately 40 million lives providing the most representative sample of U.S. treatment practice for Medicare and commercially insured patients. This report is delivered as a key findings slide deck and a dashboard that can be accessed using the Internet with claims that are less than six months old at the time of publication.

Patient Sample: Patients who are continuously enrolled for the complete two-year study period must meet the following condition: at least one claim with a diagnosis code for AD (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision [ICD-9] diagnostic code 331.0) during the study period.

Quantified lines of therapy analysis showing exact share of each agent in each line of therapy, including rate of progression between lines and length of time patients are on each line.

Newly Diagnosed Patients:

- Patient share by key products across three lines of therapy, within one year of diagnosis.

- Patient flowchart through one year of treatment for all first-line products, including progression rates and add/switch behavior.

- Polypharmacy and key concomitant therapies by line of therapy.

- Quarterly trending of patient share by line of therapy.

Recently Treated Patients:

- Quarterly snapshot of patient share by key products.

- Pathway to key therapy flowcharts tracking the preceding therapy patterns for all key therapies, including add/switch behavior.

- Brand source of business including share for continuing, new (switches/adds), and new (initial therapy) business.

- Polypharmacy and key concomitant therapies.

- Drug persistence and compliance.

- Quarterly trending of patient share for all key therapies.

Related Reports

Alzheimer's Disease - Landscape & Forecast - Disease Landscape & Forecast

View Details

Alzheimer's Disease | Disease Landscape and Forecast | G7 | 2020

The Alzheimer’s disease (AD) market comprises a handful of symptomatic options that offer modest efficacy for a limited duration, leaving wide open the opportunity for more-effective alternatives—i...

View Details

Alzheimer's Disease - Epidemiology - Mature Markets

DRG Epidemiology’s coverage of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) comprises epidemiological estimates of key...

View Details