Friday, September 25, 2015

Recent Drug Developments

The news surrounding Alzheimer's and drugs this month has been very interesting.

Salsalate, a drug related to aspirin, may provide a new hope for Alzheimer's.  The interesting thing is that Salsalate has been known of and in use since the time of Hippocrates.  It's an oldie but a goodie. Salsalate helps reduce inflammation which is why it has been used to treat arthritis.  In at least one mice model, there is evidence that Salsalate clears Tau from their brains.  If that can transition to humans, than that's a good thing.

Alternately, donepezil, which is used to treat Alzheimer's, appears to build bone mass.  Scientists are now looking into using it as a treatment for osteoporosis.  

Finally, a combination drug called dextromethorphan-quinidine appears to reduce aggression and anxiety in Alzheimer's patients.  This is an off-label finding.  Dextromethorphan-quinidine is normally used to treat pseudobulbar affect in which individuals may not be able to have their external emotion expression match their internal emotional feelings.  This finding isn't as surprising to me as the donepezil finding.  Individuals with pseudobulbar affect have some sort of brain damage, injury or neurological disorder which makes emotional regulation difficult.  It is also not an antipsychotic which can pose particular risks for side-effects in Alzheimer's patients.  If it is approved for use in easing Alzheimer's patients' anxiety and aggression, it may be a safer option.

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