While no cure or totally effective medication has yet beencreated, there are a number of memory loss medications with FDA approval and onthe market at this time. These medications can only help manage the symptomsand, in few cases, slow down the rate of progression of the disease.(alzheimers.ie, n.
d.)51However, these medications can be unpopularbecause of their unpleasant side effects which can be particularly tough onolder people with the disease. (National institute of aging, 2017)52Current medications on the market in the United States of America: Generic name Brand name Approved for Donepezil Aricept All stages Galantamine Razadyne Mild to moderate Revastigmine Exelon Mild to moderate Memantine Namenda Moderate to severe Donepezil + Memantine Namzaric Moderate to severe (alz.org, n.
d.)53 These available treatments are onlythe small percentage that make it past the clinical trial. Hundreds ofdifferent compounds are produced in labs with the hope of finally finding thecure to this disease however, there has been no such luck yet. Below are a fewof the experimental drugs that are being tested and examined today: Donepezil:Used to treat thesymptoms of Alzheimer’s by improving memory of patients, However, does notslowdown or stop the disease in any way. Galantamine:This drug is used totreat Alzheimer’s and several other nervous system diseases. This drug isisolated from plants from the Amaryllidaceaefamily such as the Caucasian snowdrop, the daffodil and the red spiderlily. Revastigmine:Used f the treatmentof mild to moderate due to Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Thedrug can be administered via transdermal patch which can lessen the intensityof the side effects.
the latter form reduces the prevalence of side effects. Memantine:Memantine is used to treat moderateto severe Alzheimer’s disease. It acts on the glutamatergic system by blocking NMDA receptors. This drug has also been used to treat patients withanxiety disorders, ADHD, OCD and various other neurological disorders. Fig.4.) Chemical formula: C12H21N The first three drugs on this list,Donepezil, Galantamine and Revastigmine are all a form of drug which are calledacetylcholinesterase inhibitor. These are drugs thatstop or slow down enzymes from breaking down acetylcholine when it istransported between two cells.
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter which helpsto transport signals across the nerves synapses to anther nerve. This meansthat the low levels of acetylcholine present in alzheimers patients brains,diminishes at a slower rate which results in higher concentrations ofacetylcholine, leading to increased communication between nerve cells, which inturn, may temporarily improve or stabilise the symptoms of dementia. Somepeople who take cholinesterase inhibitors experience side-effects. Side-effectsfrom these drugs are most common when someone first administers them but,fortunately, they often settle down with time. The most likely side effects arediarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, lowered blood pressure, insomnia,fatigue and loss of appetite. Other reported side effects include falls anddizziness. If the dose is increased gradually the likelihood of side effects islower.
When prescribing these drugs, the doctor must ensure they are aware ofthe patient’s medical history because they can be harmful in people with ahistory of peptic ulcers, asthma, liver or kidney disease, or a very slow heartrate. (dementia australia, 2006)54 The fourth drug on the list,Memantine, is a different type of drug which acts on the glutamatergicsystem by blocking NMDA receptors.An increased level of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)receptor hypofunction within the brain is associated with the symptoms ofAlzheimer’s such as memory loss and psychosis. As the brain ages, the NMDAreceptors become progressively slower, contributing to decreases in new memory formationand learning performance. In order to restrict this progressivedeterioration of the NMDA receptors, Memantine works by regulating the activityof glutamate which is a chemical involved in the processing of new informationand the storage of new memory. Glutamate plays an essential role in learningand memory by triggering NMDA receptors to let a controlled amount of calciuminto a nerve cell. The calcium helps create the chemical environment requiredfor information storage. Excess glutamate, however, overstimulates NMDAreceptors so that they allow too much calcium into the nerve cells.
That leadsto disruption and death of cells. Memantine protects cells against excessglutamate by partially blocking MNDA receptors. (Alzheimer’s asociation, n.d.)55 The last drug on the list is a combination of Donepezil andMemantine which is commercially called Namzaric. This is subscribed in moderateto severe cases of Alzheimer’s but can have serious side effects such as slowerheartbeat, nausea , increased production of stomach acid which can increaserisk of bleeding and stomach ulcers, and in some cases, seizures.
People taking Namzaric may see an improvement in cognition and brain functionoverall, and a temporary delay in the worsening of symptoms. Unfortunately, aswith all Alzheimer’s medications on the market today, there is no evidence ofthis drug stopping or curing the degenerative disease in any way. (Alzheimer’sasociation, n.d.)56Bibliography51alz.org, n.d.
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nia.nih.gov/health/how-alzheimers-disease-treated Fig.56) What is Donepezil.
Retrieved from http://donepezil.com/Fig.57) What are Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. Retrievedfrom https://peaknootropics.com/using-acetylcholinesterase-inhibitors-nootropics/Fig.
658) Treatment of Alzheimer’s. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/WIWomensHealth/franczak-presentation