If you have a loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s, you know just how damaging the disease can be. It can be difficult to watch a senior in your life lose their memory and their sense of self. You may feel that there is nothing you can do to help or slow down the process. While it may seem that all hope is lost, there are new medications and studies on Alzheimer’s that are giving new hope to those who suffer from it.
New Drugs for Alzheimer’s Patients
For years now, pharmaceutical companies have been on the hunt for a drug to combat the underlying cause of Alzheimer’s, and with good reason. Currently, there are over five million Americans living with Alzheimer’s and every 67 seconds, a new person in the United States develops it.
In a brain that has Alzheimer’s, you will find protein clumps called plaques. These plaques are found between the dying cells.
Currently, there is a new drug called aducanumab that seems to reduce the number of toxic plaques found in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s. The study size was on the smaller size, limited to only 166 patients, but the results are promising.
The study also seemed to show that the drug, aducanumab, slowed the loss of thinking and memory. With the success of this first study, two new larger studies are now underway.
As with all drugs, there are some side effects and they can be serious. During the process of breaking down the plaque, fluid can build in the brain. In some rare cases, bleeding in the brain can occur, as well.
Additional New Alzheimer’s Research
While the new drug aducanumab looks promising, there are other Alzheimer’s studies currently underway. Some of these are looking at ways to stop or at least delay the progression of Alzheimer’s.
One type of drug under development calls on the body’s own immune system to prevent beta-antibodies from clumping into plaques in the first place. These drugs fall under the name of monoclonal antibodies. The monoclonal antibodies act like your body’s antibodies to fend off foreign bodies, such as disease and bacteria. This drug tends to work best when the Alzheimer’s symptoms are still mild.
Another issue with Alzheimer’s is that it typically causes low-level brain cell inflammation. Researchers are studying ways to reduce this inflammation. One drug they are currently looking at is pioglitazone. This is a drug used to treat diabetes, but they feel it could work to reduce brain inflammation, as well.
In the end, it seems that the way forward in treating Alzheimer’s will be a combination of drugs that attack the disease from different angles. These treatments may not cure Alzheimer’s but together they may be able to treat the symptoms and provide the patient with a better quality of life for a much longer time.
This means that the day may come when Alzheimer’s can be treated like other chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes and allow the patient to continue their life instead of having it stripped away day by day.
Do you have a loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s? What has their experience been like with any medications they take? Have you seen an improvement in their condition? We’d love it if you shared your stories in the comments below.