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The Use of Medications for Cognitive Enhancement

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 December 2014

William Pryse-Phillips
Memorial University, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada
Shelley Sternberg
Department of, Medicine, Section of Geriatrics, University of Chicago, USA
Paula Rochon
Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Gary Naglie
Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Howard Strong
Department of Psychiatry, Memorial University, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada
John Feightner
University of Western Ontario, London ON, Canada
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To provide Canadian physicians and allied health care professionals with the evidence they need to help them make treatment decisions in the management of patients with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.


The full range and quality of diagnostic and therapeutic modalities available to Canadian physicians for the management of dementia.


Improvement in the treatment of dementias, leading to reduced suffering, increased functional capacity and decreased economic burden.

Evidence and values:

The creation of these evidence-based consensus statements involved literature reviews of the subject by the authors; comparison of alternative clinical pathways and description of the methods whereby published data were analyzed; definition of the level of evidence for data in each case; evaluation and revision in a conference setting (involving primary care physicians, neurologists, psychiatrists, geriatricians, psychologists, consumers and other interested parties); insertion of tables showing key variables and data from various studies and tables of data with recommendations; and reassessment by all authors.

Benefits, harms, and costs:

A rational plan for the therapy of dementias is likely to lead to substantial benefits in both human and economic terms.


Treatment decisions should be made taking into account the severity or stage of the disease, the availability of caregivers, the presence of disease affecting other bodily systems and the ability of the subject to pay the cost of the medications. Donepezil is considered to have positive effects upon certain tests of neuropsychological function and may produce some improvement in Alzheimer’s disease of mild to moderate severity as measured by rating scales. Its ability to improve quality of life remains uncertain. No other drug treatments* (apart from symptomatic therapies) are at present approved for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.


These recommendations were created by a writing committee, evaluated and revised at a consensus conference and further reviewed and revised by the writing committee prior to publication.

Research Article
Copyright © The Canadian Journal of Neurological 2001


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