Over 5.8 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Sadly, the disease is becoming more common. The good news is that we are finally making strides in treating it.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease of the brain that causes a slow decline in cognitive function. To date, no cure has been discovered for the condition, but treatments for the early stage of Alzheimer’s are showing promise in the form of slowing down its progression.
Recently, promising medications have reached the market to help preserve the structures of the brain for longer, enabling individuals to retain more of their cognition, and live independently for as long as possible.
A lot of research has been done since science has recognized the existence of Alzheimer’s, but its causes have yet to be fully uncovered. The Alzheimer’s Association is publishing some case studies to help people better understand it. Amyloid plaques, long considered to be a sign of the disease, are now being viewed as part of the presentation as opposed to the cause.
Despite this limited understanding, great strides are still being made in the treatment of early Alzheimer’s, giving hope to sufferers and families alike.
A Look at the Challenges of Treating Early Alzheimer’s
Treatment for Alzheimer’s consists mainly of managing the symptoms and behaviors that accompany the disease, more so than modifying its action. Currently there is only one medication that is approved for disease modification, known as aducanumab. The problem with aducanumab and related treatments are the adverse side effects. One of the major issues with the use of aducanumab is the fact that it targets the amyloid plaques in the brain and has an increased risk of swelling or bleeding in the brain.
Other medications that are available for treatment have side effects that include gastrointestinal distress including nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, and can also cause headaches and dizziness. The side effects can be strong enough to cause the patient to stop their use, putting them at risk of faster onset of the middle and final stages of Alzheimer’s.
New Early Alzheimer’s Medication Shows Promise of a Better Treatment
Many pharmaceutical companies are engaged in the treatment of Alzheimer’s and each are using different approaches to treat symptoms or limit its progression through various mechanisms.
One medication that’s showing promise in the form of slowing down the disease is being produced by Anavex Life Sciences. The medication is currently known as Anavex2-73 (blarcamesine), and results from its recent Phase 2b/3 trial are promising.
Anavex2-73’s action is one of restoring neural cell homeostasis and encouraging neuroplasticity in the brain. That is, the medication helps brain cells maintain their balance and function while resisting the effects of Alzheimer’s. So far, the medication has shown great promise when it comes to helping patients retain their cognitive function and slow their decline. The drug is also well-tolerated by study participants, which means more patients will be able to benefit from its use without the risk of adverse side effects.
The lack of adverse side effects means that users are far more likely to stay on the medication while enjoying an improved quality of life. This can go a long way towards treating Alzheimer’s and detecting it earlier.