What is Alzheimer's Disease?
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. It affects memory, thinking, and behavior. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that worsens over time. One of the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s dementia is loss of memory and ability to remember newly learned things. As the disease worsens, patients will eventually lose their ability to carry on a conversation, perform simple tasks, or respond to their environment. The greatest risk factor for developing Alzheimer's disease is advacned age. Genetic and environmental factors have also been linked to increased risk of Alzheimer's disease. There is currently no cure for the disease, but there are medications that can help slow down the progression of the Alzheimer's. Some drugs used in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease are Namenda, Aricept, Exelon, and Razadyne. These drugs may improve the quality of life and slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease.
Interesting facts about Alzheimer's disease
There are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer's disease.
By 2050, it is projected that 13.2 million people will be affected with Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.
The estimated lifetime risk of Alzheimer's disease is 1 in 5 for women and 1 in 10 for men.
Almost two-thirds of seniors living with Alzheimer's disease are women.
Approximately 500,000 people die each year because of Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's disease is the most expensive condition in the United States. The majority of the cost is from the supportive care of those with Alzheimer's.
Drugs for Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease
Namenda XR (memantine) Capsules 7 mg, 14 mg, 21 mg, 28 mg.
Forest Laboratories will discontinue Namenda 5 mg and 10 mg tablets in fall of 2014.
Namenda works by blocking the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. By blocking this receptor, it decreases glutamate neurotransmission. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter (a chemical used to transmit signals in brain cells) that is important for learning and memory. Overstimulation of NMDA receptor may lead to damage to brain areas needed for learning and memory. By decreasing glutamate activity, Namenda may provide protection from excessive brain activity.
The usual starting dose of Namenda XR is 7 mg orally once daily. Then increase the dose in 7 mg increments at weekly intervals to a maintenance dose of 28 mg once daily. Some common side effects associated with Namenda are dizziness, headache, confusion, and constipation. Some drug interactions of Namenda include drugs that make urine less acidic (pH 8) such as carbonic anhydrase inhibitors and sodium bicarbonate. This drug may decrease the elimination of Namenda and increase the risk of its side effects.
The effectiveness of Namenda was studied in two clinical trials. In the clinical trials, efficacy was measured with the Alzheimer’s disease Cooperative Study - Activities of Daily Living inventory (ADCS-ADL) test which measures the patient's functional capabilities, and the Severe Impairment Battery (SIB) test which measures cognitive function. The score range is 0 to 54 for ADCS-ADL test and 0 to 100 for SIB test. In one clinical study, compared with placebo, patients treated with Namenda showed an improvement of 3.4 points on the ADCS-ADL score and 5.7 points on the SIB score. In another clinical study, compared to placebo/donepezil (monotherapy), patients treated with Namenda and donepezil (combination therapy) showed an improvement of 1.6 points on the ADCS-ADL test and 3.3 points on the SIB test.
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