no cure or totally effective medication has yet been created, there are a number of memory loss medications with FDA approval and on the market at this time. These medications can only help manage the symptoms and, in few cases, slow down the rate at which the disease is progressing (alzheimers.ie, n.d.).
However, these medications can be unpopular because of their unpleasant side effects which can be particularly tough on older people with the disease. (National institute of aging, 2017)Current medications on the market in the United States of America:Generic name Brand name Approved forDonepezil Aricept All stagesGalantamine Razadyne Mild to moderateRevastigmine Exelon Mild to moderateMemantine Namenda Moderate to severeDonepezil + Memantine Namzaric Moderate to severe(alz.org, n.
d.)These available treatments are only the small percentage that make it past the clinical trial. Hundreds of different compounds are produced in labs with the hope of finally finding the cure to this disease however, there has been no such luck yet. Below are a few of the experimental drugs that are being tested and examined today:Donepezil:Used to treat the symptoms of the disease by improving the short term memory of patients, However, it does not slowdown or stop the disease in any way.
Galantamine:This drug is used to treat Alzheimer’s and several other nervous system diseases. This drug is isolated from plants from the Amaryllidaceae family such as the Caucasian snowdrop, the daffodil and the red spider lily. Revastigmine:Used f the treatment of mild to moderate due to Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
The drug can be administered via transdermal patch which can lessen the intensity of the side effects. Memantine:Memantine is used to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease. It acts on the glutamatergic system by blocking the NMDA receptors. This drug has also been used to treat patients with anxiety disorders, ADHD, OCD and various other neurological disorders.The first three drugs on this list, Donepezil, Galantamine and Revastigmine are all a form of drug which are called acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. These are drugs that stop or slow down enzymes from breaking down acetylcholine when it is transported between two cells. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter which helps to transport signals across the nerves synapses to anther nerve. This means that the low levels of acetylcholine present in Alzheimer’s patients brains, diminishes at a slower rate which results in higher concentrations of acetylcholine, leading to increased communication between nerve cells, which in turn, may temporarily improve or stabilise the symptoms of dementia.
Some people who take cholinesterase inhibitors experience side-effects. Side-effects from these drugs are most common when someone first administers them but, fortunately, they often settle down with time. The most likely side effects are diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, lowered blood pressure, insomnia, fatigue and loss of appetite. Other reported side effects include falls and dizziness. If the dose is increased gradually the likelihood of side effects is lower. When prescribing these drugs, the doctor must ensure they are aware of the patient’s medical history because they can be harmful in people with a history of peptic ulcers, asthma, liver or kidney disease, or a very slow heart rate. (dementia australia, 2006)The fourth drug on the list, Memantine, is a different type of drug which acts on the glutamatergic system by blocking the NMDA receptors.
A higher level of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor overworking within the brain cells is associated with Alzheimer’s disease symptoms such as memory loss and psychosis. As the brain ages, the NMDA receptors become slower over time, contributing to decreases in the formation of new memories and learning performance. In order to hinder this progressive deterioration of the NMDA receptors, Memantine works by regulating the activity of glutamate which is a chemical involved in the processing of new information. Glutamate plays an essential role in memory and learning by triggering NMDA receptors to let a controlled amount of calcium into a nerve cell. The calcium helps create the chemical environment required for information storage. Excess glutamate, however, overstimulates NMDA receptors so that they allow too much calcium into the nerve cells. That leads to disruption and death of cells. Memantine protects cells against excess glutamate by partially blocking MNDA receptors.
(Alzheimer’s asociation, n.d.)The last drug on the list is a combination of Donepezil and Memantine which is commercially called Namzaric. This is subscribed in moderate to severe cases of Alzheimer’s but can have serious side effects such as slower heartbeat, nausea , increased production of stomach acid which can increase risk of bleeding and stomach ulcers and sometimes , seiures.
People taking Namzaric may see an improvement in cognition and brain function overall, and a temporary delay in the worsening of symptoms. Unfortunately, as with all Alzheimer’s medications on the market today, there is no evidence of this drug stopping or curing the degenerative disease in any way. (Alzheimer’s asociation, n.d.)Bibliographyalz.
org, n.d. Medications for memory loss. Online Available at: https://www.
alz.org/alzheimers_disease_standard_prescriptions.aspAccessed 23 1 2018.Alzheimer’s asociation, n.
d. FDA approved treatments of Alzheimer’s. Online Available at: https://www.alz.org/dementia/downloads/topicsheet_treatments.pdfAccessed 27 january 2018.alzheimers.ie, n.
d. Treating dementia. Online Available at: https://www.alzheimer.ie/Living-with-dementia/I-have-Dementia/Treatments.aspxAccessed 24 january 2018.
dementia australia, 2006. Drug treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. Online Available at: https://www.dementia.org.au/files/helpsheets/Helpsheet-DementiaQandA01-CholinesteraseInhibitors_english.pdfAccessed 26 january 2018.
National institute of aging, 2017. How is alzheimer’s disease treated. Online Available at: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/how-alzheimers-disease-treatedAccessed 22 january 2018.
Picture references:Fig.1) What is Donepezil. Retrieved from http://donepezil.com/Fig.5) What are Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. Retrieved from https://peaknootropics.
com/using-acetylcholinesterase-inhibitors-nootropics/Fig.6) Treatment of Alzheimer’s. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/WIWomensHealth/franczak-presentation