Positive Effects of Pimavanserin for Patients With AD: Clive Ballard, MD

Clive Ballard, MD, professor of age related diseases at University of Exeter, commented on the potential impact that the approval of pimavanserin would have for patients if approved for dementia-related psychosis.

“The impact on people’s lives could be enormous. You've got safe treatments, you’re avoiding a lot of harm, [and] you're treating really distressing symptoms. There’s a lot of potential for these symptoms to lead to nursing home admission or hospital admission, so you will need longer-term trials…but I think there's a very strong probability that a treatment like intervention will reduce the burden of institutional care.”

In conversation with NeurologyLive, Clive Ballard, MD, pro-vice-chancellor and executive dean of medicine, professor of age related diseases, University of Exeter, spoke on the potential impacts that an approval of pimavanserin (Nuplazid; Acadia) to treat dementia-related psychosis (DRP) would have. Currently, no treatments are indicated for DRP. As psychosis can be a distressing symptom for both patients and their families, Ballard discussed the possibility of reductions in institutional care, which would further alleviate financial burden. Pimavanserin is already indicated for Parkinson disease psychosis.

Study results were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine and consequent safety data was presented at the 2021 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC), July 26-30, which detail the therapy’s efficacy in a population of patients with several different dementias including Alzheimer disease, Lewy body dementia, and frontotemporal dementia.1,2 Ballard commented on the importance of identifying and establishing treatment for DRP, which remains an unmet need, prior to evaluating the influence of different pathologies. 

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REFERENCES

1. Tariot P, Cummings JL, Soto-Martin ME, et al. Trial of Pimavanserin in Dementia-Related Psychosis. N Engl J Med. 2021; 385:309-319. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2034634.
2. Demos G, Foff EP, McEvoy B, Skoog B. Pimavanserin and concomitant antidementia medication use in patients with neurodegenerative and/or neurovascular disorders: safety outcomes from pooled clinical data and the HARMONY study. Presented at: AAIC 2021; Denver, Colorado; July 26-30. Poster 57661.