Aging Clinical and Experimental Research

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 677–683 | Cite as

Caregivers’ perceptions of the therapeutic benefits of drug treatments for dementia

  • Carlotta FranchiEmail author
  • Francesca Arosio
  • Codjo Djignefa Djade
  • Gabriella Salvini Porro
  • Alessandro Nobili
Original Article


Background and aims

To collect opinions, perceptions, and expectations on the therapeutic benefits of drug treatment for dementia and the impact on the care of the patient in a large sample of caregivers. Only few studies deal with this topic in a small number of participants.


This used an ad-hoc online questionnaire to collect the opinions of caregivers of patients with dementia and assess their expectations and perceptions of the therapeutic benefits of drug treatments. The questionnaire was accessible for nearly 4 months on the Federazione Alzheimer Italia website and had three sections: (1) information on the patient with dementia; (2) information on the caregiver’s perception of the therapeutic benefits of drug treatments; (3) information on caregivers. To evaluate the relationship between the caregiver’s expectations of the therapeutic benefits of dementia treatments and some characteristics of the patients and the caregivers, we used the Chi-square test.


During the access time, 439 questionnaires were filled, and 369 were validated for inclusion in the analysis; of these, 329 also had information on caregivers. The expectations of drug treatment effects were not statistically significantly influenced by any variables considered about the patients or the caregivers. Caregivers’ beliefs about the effectiveness of dementia treatment, their expectations and changes in their lives were clear.


This study addresses a gap in knowledge about caregivers’ experiences and their views of drug treatments, and highlights the need for a pharmaceutical treatment that helps to resolve the symptoms and outcomes of dementia.


Caregivers Changes of caregivers’ lives Cholinesterase inhibitors Dementia Perception of therapeutic effects 



The authors are very grateful for the support of all caregivers.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.


  1. 1.
    Prince M, Bryce R, Ferri C (2011) The benefits of early diagnosis and intervention. Alzheimer’s Disease International World Alzheimer Report, pp 1–72Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Vellone E, Piras G, Venturini G, Alvaro R, Zichi Cohen M (2011) The experience of quality of life for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease living in Sardinia, Italy. J Transcult Nurs XX(X):1–10Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Birks J (2006) Cholinesterase inhibitors for Alzheimer’s disease. In Cochrane database of systematic reviews 2006: issue 1. Art. no. CD005593. Wiley, New York. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD005593
  4. 4.
    Franchi C, Lucca U, Tettamanti M, Riva E, Fortino I, Bortolotti A, Merlino L, Pasina L, Nobili A (2011) Cholinesterase inhibitor use in Alzheimer’s disease: the EPIFARM Elderly Project. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf 20(5):497–505PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Courtney C, Farrell D, Gray R, Hills R, Lynch L, Sellwood E, Edwards S, Hardyman W, Raftery J, Crome P, Lendon C, Shaw H, Bentham P, AD2000 Collaborative Group (2004) Long-term donepezil treatment in 565 patients with Alzheimer’s disease: randomised double-blind trial. Lancet 363(9427):2105–2115PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hutchings D, Vanoli A, McKeith I, Brotherton S, Mcnamee P, Bond J (2010) Good days and bad days: the lived experience and perceived impact of treatment with cholinesterase inhibitors for Alzheimer’s disease in the United Kingdom. Dementia 9(3):409–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Rockwood K, Fay S, Song X, MacKnight C, Gorman M (2006) Attainment of treatment goals by people with Alzheimer’s disease receiving galantamine: a randomized controlled trial. Can Med Assoc J 174(8):1099–1105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Smith A, Kobayashi K, Chappell N, Hoxsey D (2011) The controversial promises of cholinesterase inhibitors for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias: a qualitative study of caregivers’ experiences. J Aging Stud. doi: 10.1016/j.jaging.2011.03.002 Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Society Alzheimer’s (2000) Appraisal of the drugs for Alzheimer’s disease: submission to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). Alzheimer’s Society, LondonGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Society Alzheimer’s (2004) Drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s Society, LondonGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Huizing A, Berghmans RLP, Widdershoven AM, Verhey FRJ (2006) Do caregivers’ experiences correspond with the concerns raised in the literature? Ethical issues relating to anti-dementia drugs. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 21:869–875PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Shua-Haim JR, Comsti R, Shua-Haim V, Ross JS (1997) Donepezil (Aricept): the caregivers voices and clinical impression. Am J Alzheimer’s Dis 12:272–279Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    McAvinchey K, Burns A (2009) Perceived efficacy of antidementia drug treatment. Nat Rev 5:302–303Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Karlawish JHT, Klocinski JL, Merz J, Clark DA, Asch MD (2000) Caregivers’ preferences for the treatment of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Neurology 55:1008–1014PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Papastavrou E, Tsangari H, Karayiannis G, Papacostas S, Efstathiou G, Sourtzi P (2011) Caring and coping: the dementia caregivers. Aging Ment Health 15(6):702–711PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Lingler JH, Martire LM, Schulz R (2005) Caregiver-specific outcomes in antidementia clinical drug trials: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAGS 53:983–990CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Rinaldi P, Spazzafumo L, Mastriforti R (2005) Predictors of high level of burden and distress in caregivers of demented patients: results of an Italian multicenter study. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 20(2):168–174PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlotta Franchi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Francesca Arosio
    • 2
  • Codjo Djignefa Djade
    • 1
  • Gabriella Salvini Porro
    • 2
  • Alessandro Nobili
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory for Quality Assessment of Geriatric Therapies and ServicesIRCCS-Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche “Mario Negri”MilanItaly
  2. 2.Federazione Alzheimer ItaliaMilanItaly

Personalised recommendations