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Burckhardt M, Watzke S, Wienke A, et al. Souvenaid for Alzheimer's disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 Dec 15;12:CD011679. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD011679.pub2. (Systematic review)
Abstract

BACKGROUND: Souvenaid is a dietary supplement with a patented composition (Fortasyn Connect™)which is intended to be used by people with Alzheimer's disease (AD). It has been designed to support the formation and function of synapses in the brain, which are thought to be strongly correlated with cognitive function. If effective, it might improve symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and also prevent the progression from prodromal Alzheimer's disease to dementia. We sought in this review to examine the evidence for this proposition.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the effects of Souvenaid on incidence of dementia, cognition, functional performance, and safety in people with Alzheimer's disease.

SEARCH METHODS: We searched ALOIS, i.e. the specialised register of the Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group, MEDLINE (Ovid SP), Embase (Ovid SP), PsycINFO (Ovid SP), Web of Science (ISI Web of Science), Cinahl (EBSCOhost), Lilacs (BIREME), and clinical trials registries up to 24 June 2020. We also reviewed citations of reference lists of landmark papers, reviews, and included studies for additional studies and assessed their suitability for inclusion in the review.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomised, placebo-controlled trials which evaluated Souvenaid in people diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to AD (also termed prodromal AD) or with dementia due to AD, and with a treatment duration of at least 16 weeks.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Our primary outcome measures were incidence of dementia, global and specific cognitive function, functional performance, combined cognitive-functional outcomes and adverse events. We selected studies, extracted data, assessed the quality of trials and intended to conduct meta-analyses according to the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. We rated the quality of the evidence using the GRADE approach. We present all outcomes grouped by stage of AD.

MAIN RESULTS: We included three randomised, placebo-controlled trials investigating Souvenaid in 1097 community-dwelling participants with Alzheimer's disease. One study each included participants with prodromal AD, mild AD dementia and mild-to-moderate AD dementia. We rated the risks of bias of all trials as low. One study (in prodromal AD) was funded by European grants. The other two studies were funded by the manufacturer of Souvenaid. One trial investigated the incidence of dementia in people with prodromal AD at baseline, and found little to no difference between the Souvenaid group and the placebo group after 24 months (RR 1.09, 95% CI 0.82 to 1.43; 1 trial, 311 participants; moderate quality of evidence). In prodromal AD, and in mild and mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease dementia, Souvenaid probably results in little or no difference in global or specific cognitive functions (moderate quality of evidence). Everyday function, or the ability to perform activities of daily living, were measured in mild and mild-to-moderate AD dementia. Neither study found evidence of a difference between the groups after 24 weeks of treatment (moderate quality of evidence). Two studies investigated combined cognitive-functional outcomes with the Clinical Dementia Rating Sum of Boxes and observed conflicting results. Souvenaid probably results in slight improvement, which is below estimates of meaningful change, in participants with prodromal Alzheimer's disease after 24 months (moderate quality of evidence), but probably has little to no effect in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease dementia after 24 weeks (moderate quality of evidence). Adverse effects observed were low in all trials, and the available data were insufficient to determine any connection with Souvenaid.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Two years of treatment with Souvenaid probably does not reduce the risk of progression to dementia in people with prodromal AD. There is no convincing evidence that Souvenaid affects other outcomes important to people with AD in the prodromal stage or mild-to-moderate stages of dementia. Conflicting evidence on combined cognitive-functional outcomes in prodromal AD and mild AD dementia warrants further investigation. Adverse effects of Souvenaid seem to be uncommon, but the evidence synthesised in this review does not permit us to make a definitive statement on the long-term tolerability of Souvenaid. The effects of Souvenaid in more severe AD dementia or in people with AD at risk of nutritional deficiencies remain unclear.

Ratings
Discipline Area Score
Family Medicine (FM)/General Practice (GP) 6 / 7
General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US) 6 / 7
Internal Medicine 5 / 7
Psychiatry 5 / 7
Neurology 4 / 7
FM/GP/Mental Health 4 / 7
Comments from MORE raters

FM/GP/Mental Health rater

Early diagnosis of AD requires the use of suitable neuropsychological tests combined with a careful clinical history. A multimodal approach is recommended; dietary and nutritional interventions should be considered alongside individualized lifestyle modifications. Although single-agent nutritional supplements have failed to produce cognitive benefits for patients with AD, a broader nutritional approach warrants consideration. Evidence this SR of 3 randomized controlled trials suggests that Souvenaid should be considered as an option for some patients with early AD.

FM/GP/Mental Health rater

This beautiful meta-analysis shows that Souvenaid likely doesn't work.

General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US) rater

As more and more people resort to dietary supplements, a Cochrane review such as this is very helpful in primary care practice.
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