Since the introduction of the first cholinesterase inhibitor (ChEI) in 1997, most clinicians and probably most patients would consider the cholinergic drugs, donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine, to be the first line pharmacotherapy for mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. The drugs have slightly different pharmacological properties, but they all work by inhibiting the breakdown of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter associated with memory, by blocking the enzyme acetylcholinesterase.
Georgetown University Medical Center researchers today opened a new clinical trial designed to test if huperzine A, a natural product derived from a Chinese herb, can slow down or prevent cognitive decline in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).
In a small clinical trial enrolling 63 individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, half of those who received atorvastatin (Lipitor) stabilized or improved after one year of treatment, the trial’s principal investigator D. Larry Sparks, Ph.D., reported today at a professional meeting on Alzheimer therapy.
The so-called "memory drugs" used to treat Alzheimer's disease and other causes of dementia also ease or prevent a barrage of troublesome behaviors that affect the majority of patients, ultimately lightening the burden on caregivers, researchers have found. They report their results in the March issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.