The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease that currently affects 6.5 million Americans. By destroying neurons and synapses, which connect neurons and help them communicate, this particular brain disease affects memory, cognition, social behavior, and more. Now researchers are identifying drugs that may benefit Alzheimer’s patients, including one that may help relieve a particular symptom of Alzheimer’s disease and improve quality of life. Read on to learn which common medication (usually used for a different disorder) may benefit AD patients and why some doctors recommend proceeding with caution.
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Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease or related forms of dementia. However, doctors often prescribe drugs to patients with Alzheimer’s disease to temporarily reduce or relieve certain symptoms. These drugs can help improve cognition, reduce behavioral or psychological symptoms, or treat underlying conditions that may exacerbate the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
“We are still looking for a cure to prevent the degeneration of the most complex organ system in the human body, the brain,” says David MerrillMD, PhD, a geriatric psychiatrist and director of the Pacific Brain Health Center at the Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in California.
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According to a new study published in the BMJ Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatrya certain noradrenergic drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression may benefit people with Alzheimer’s disease. In particular, the reuse of these drugs for patients with Alzheimer’s disease is believed to improve “general cognition” and relieve apathya common symptom in patients with AD.
“Individual medication recommendations should be made on a case-by-case basis, targeting the most problematic symptoms,” Merrill said. Better life. “That said, this study finds that noradrenergic drugs might be helpful in a patient with early-stage AD who has become more apathetic and has difficulty getting out and engaging in socially and cognitively stimulating activities. “
“The presence of apathy [in Alzheimer’s patients] has been linked to greater caregiver distress, decreased quality of life and increased morbidity,” according to a 2014 study published in the journal Current opinion in behavioral science.
Considering the huge number of patients affected by the symptom, the management of apathy could have a major impact on patients with AD. “Perhaps underestimated, apathy is the most common behavioral disturbance in Alzheimer’s disease,” says Merrill, noting that the drug may be particularly helpful soon after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. “Having effective treatment options for apathy, especially early in the disease process, would significantly improve the quality of life for patients and families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.”
When apathy no longer thwarts their ability to engage socially, patients with dementia may see cognitive and psychiatric gains. “Being more active and engaged in activities might help avoid or slow the decline,” Merrill said. Better life. “It really is the combination of using available medications and continuing to improve health through lifestyle optimization. Exercise continues to be the best treatment available to preserve and protect health. brain health and overall health in general.If medications can help get and keep an individual more physically active, that would be a win,” he says.
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Before starting any new medication or treatment, it is important to weigh the benefits against the possible side effects. Experts say it’s no different with noradrenergic drugs, which can have a wide range of side effects.
“The use of noradrenergic drugs could be another useful avenue for practitioners when treating the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease,” Mahmoud KaraMD, recently said Health Line. “However, we must remember that these are a group of drugs with potentially serious side effects and are generally not recommended for the elderly. Side effects include but are not limited to , irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, confusion, shortness of breath, and risk of addiction.” The elderly, a population particularly vulnerable to the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, may be at an increased risk of serious side effects from this particular drug.
Speak with your doctor to discuss the risks and benefits associated with this and other treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.