Monday, April 11, 2011

Popular drug for mild Alzheimer's largely a flop - Health - Alzheimer's Disease -

A drug frequently prescribed to treat people with mild Alzheimer's disease does not appear to be an effective therapy for many of these patients, according to a new study.

The results show the drug, memantine, is no better than a dummy pill when it comes to ameliorating disease symptoms, including the decline of mental abilities, the researchers say. There is also meager evidence that the drug works for patients with moderate Alzheimer's, the researchers say.

Memantine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat patients with moderate and severe Alzheimer's. However, physicians often prescribe it off-label to those with mild forms of the disease.  About 19 percent of U.S. patients with mild Alzheimer's disease take the drug, the researchers say. The drug is intended to improve cognitive functions and make it easier for patients to perform daily activities.

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