Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. It’s a slow-progressing disease, and its mechanisms are poorly understood, despite well over a century’s awareness of the condition. Treatments are available for Alzheimer’s, but a majority of them treat the symptoms, rather than altering the disease itself.
Only one medication, aducanumab, recently became FDA-approved to provide direct treatment for Alzheimer’s. It attacks the amyloid deposits in the brain, and may slow down the progression of the disease, but hasn’t been shown to affect its symptoms. Unfortunately, Aducanumab also has serious side effects that truly highlight the issues facing the uphill battle in the treatment of early Alzheimer’s.
The Difficulty of Treating Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s was discovered and named around 1901, but it took decades for scientists to get an understanding of how it progresses. In fact, the medical community still has a limited understanding of the disease. What is known is the fact that the appearance of amyloid plaques on the brain is a definitive sign of the disease, although these plaques are also present in Down’s Syndrome.
Scientists now feel that the amyloid plaques play a role in the disease, but believe that there are other factors at play that have yet to be discovered. This makes it more challenging to treat the condition with medication.
Fortunately, pharmaceutical research is currently underway that shows progress when it comes to the treatment of early Alzheimer’s.
Current Alzheimer’s Medications Have Serious Side Effects
Multiple medications are currently on the market to manage the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, but only one, aducanumab, affects the amyloid plaques on the brain. Its long-term effects are unknown as it has only been on the market since June 2021. What is known is that aducanumab comes with a risk of brain swelling or bleeding and requires patient monitoring through MRIs.
Other Alzheimer’s medications have adverse side effects that include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, falls, weakness, dizziness, and more. Someone going through the early stages of Alzheimer’s may become resistant to taking these medications due to the side effects and minimal promise of maintenance or improvements.
However, new clinical trials offer hope for effective treatment of early Alzheimer’s.
A New Approach to the Treatment of Early Alzheimer’s Shows Great Promise
ANAVEX2-73 (blarcamesine) is currently reaching the end of its clinical trials, but has shown to be highly effective in slowing down the progression of early Alzheimer’s, along with improving cognition. The medication helps brain cells resist the damage caused by Alzheimer’s and maintains neuroplasticity. Trial participants taking ANAVEX2-73 were 84% more likely to have improved mental function at the end of the treatment phase, and reported little-to-no adverse side effects.
“ANAVEX2-73 is different from other treatment options that currently exist for Alzheimer’s because science indicates that ANAVEX2-73 has a better side effect profile. For example, ANAVEX2-73 does not have any GI side effects. Additionally, ANAVEX2-73 has a longer duration of positive therapeutic impact than existing treatment options for Alzheimer’s diseases,” explains Prof. Dr. Timo Grimmer.