Alzheimer's Treatment Medication: First Potential New Drug To Treat Cognitive Condition In 14 Years

A new Alzheimer’s medication currently in clinical trials could be the first drug to be approved to treat this degenerative brain disease in more than 10 years, if all goes well. Unlike past drugs developed for Alzheimer’s, Intepirdine works alongside other Alzheimer’s medications, meaning results are better than from any single medication on its own, The Independent reported.

Read: Alzheimer’s Disease: Vaccine Prevents Tau Protein Buildup To Stop The Disorder In Its Tracks

Depleted levels of the chemical acetylcholine in the brain have long been noted as a possible cause of memory deterioration in such patients, The Independent reported. Many current Alzheimer’s drugs work by preventing the breakup of this chemical in the brain as a way to keep levels high. Intepirdine works alongside these drugs by also helping to promote the release of acetylcholine. Together, the two drug properties may work better than either on its own.

hospice The drug could help slow down the progress of Alzheimer's disease. Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

“Studies based on theory can be successful, but several hundred of them have failed,” Lawrence Friedhoff, chief development officer at Axovant, the company producing the drug, told The Independent. “Our trial is replicating a study that already shows statistically significant benefit in humans, so it has a much higher chance of being successful.”

Trials for Intepirdine have already begin in the UK and are set to conclude in the fall. Next year, the company plans to begin trials on the drug in the U.S. and Europe. Stakes are high in the eventual success of the medication; it's the only new treatment for Alzheimer's that's been submitted for approval in the next few years that could possibly work.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. It leads to cognitive and behavioral problems, and eventually will kill patients.

Many other potential Alzheimer’s medications have aimed to reduce or prevent the buildup of plaques in the brain, another suspected contributor to the disease. For example, research from Flinders University in Adelaide Australia in partnership with a ­research team at the Institute of Molecular Medicine, and University of California, Irvine announced in 2016 a potential “Alzheimer’s vaccine” that could prevent at-risk individuals from developing the condition by preventing the buildup of plaque in the brain.

However, Friedhoff suggests that the connection between Alzheimer’s and brain plaque buildup is still unclear, and it may be that plaque in the brain is a symptom rather than a cause for the disease. This may explain why many medications and vaccines aimed at targeting plaque buildup have failed to slow down or cure Alzheimer’s disease.

See Also:

Alzheimer’s Symptoms 2016: 10 Early Warning Signs Of The Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease 2016: 5 Breakthrough Discoveries For Treating Brain Disorder

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