Understanding Alzheimer Disease Medications (cont.)
Various trials are in progress to find other treatments for Alzheimer's disease. The following list includes some drugs that have been studied or are currently being studied. Some of these drugs are already on the market and used for other diseases or indications, while others are investigational drugs not yet available.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs, such as naproxen (Aleve), have been studied to determine if their anti-inflammatory action slows the brain damage caused by Alzheimer's disease.
- Nutritional and herbal drugs: Vitamin E is being studied to see if it decreases brain damage and ginkgo biloba is being studied to see if it helps decrease symptoms.
- Estrogen: Formal trials have been disappointing; one study showed no effect on Alzheimer's disease progression, another showed women older than 65 years taking estrogen and progesterone had twice the rate of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.
- Drugs used to decrease heart disease risk: Statin drugs, folic acid, and vitamins B-6 and B-12 are also being studied to see if Alzheimer's disease is decreased when taking these for prevention of heart disease.
- Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors: Ganstigmine (CHF2819), phenserine, zanapezil (TAK-147) are newer cholinesterase inhibitors that have additional protective actions in Alzheimer's disease.
- A-beta production inhibitors: Gamma-secretase inhibitor
- ATP production stimulator: Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH, Memex) in theory helps regain normal cellular energy production in Alzheimer's disease to slow progression and alleviate symptoms.
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
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