Study of Alzheimer's Drug Revives Questions on Risk

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An unusual number of deaths among patients in a large study of Aricept, the most popular drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease, is raising concern among federal drug officials and some disease experts.

In the study, of 974 patients who suffered from dementia related to heart disease, 11 deaths occurred among the patients taking Aricept, while no deaths occurred among those taking dummy pills.

The Food and Drug Administration is examining the results of the study, said Susan Bro, an agency spokeswoman. The agency undertook a quick review of earlier Aricept studies and found no cause for concern, Ms. Bro said.

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