Our Current Medicines Provide a Minimal Clinically Important Difference
See our article on new information about Alzheimer’s disease treatment from the Annals of Internal Medicine. More and more experts around the world are finally seeing and admitting that what we now have to treat Alzheimer’s is too little. We need new, more, and better.
Starting at the Conclusion for Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment
For treating Alzheimer’s with the medicines we now have most people seem to take donepezil (Aricept and Aricept ODT [orally disintegrating tablet]) and memantine (Namenda). There is a once-daily oral capsule, Namzaric, that contains both donepezil and memantine. It comes in four dosage strengths: 7 mg/10 mg (7 mg of memantine and 10 mg of donepezil), 14 mg/10 mg, 21 mg/10 mg, and 28 mg/10 mg. Namzaric also seems to be a favorite among people with Alzheimer’s. Many people also like galantamine (Razadyne ER).
Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment – The French Government Won’t Pay
In August 2018, acting on a May 2018 decree from the French Minister of Health, the French government removed these standard medicines used to treat Alzheimer’s (donepezil, rivastigmine, galantamine, and memantine) from their list of medicines they will pay for. The government acted on advice from the High Authority for Health in 2016 and 2018, which said that there was “insufficient medical benefit [from these drugs] and dangerousness because of significant side effects”.
Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment – The Good and The Better
Beyond what “most people take”, that is, what’s popular, the real question is, “What helps?” What really works? Doctors and Alzheimer’s scientists often disagree, and discuss this question endlessly. What stuff in the brain really is the cause of Alzheimer’s? Doctors have been looking for over 30 years for a good medicine to really help people with Alzheimer’s. No luck. That’s really upsetting to people who actually have Alzheimer’s. They want to get well, or at least not keep getting worse. They want to know: What do I do? What do I take to make it better?
Preventing Alzheimer’s with Life Style Changes
What would you do if you thought that you really might get Alzheimer’s some day? It’s scary that there is no medicine that prevents Alzheimer’s. We have to admit that how well changes in life habits work to prevent or delay Alzheimer’s is not known with rock solid certainty. But now that we’ve honestly admitted that, there are many good reasons to believe that following a healthy diet and getting regular good exercise will help. These will make you healthy in general and keep your heart strong, and likely will keep Alzheimer’s away for a while, if not forever.
First Things First, That Is, Does Anything Make It “Better”?
Well, sort of yes and sort of no.
The “yes” is not the real yes that you want to hear. We don’t have a medicine that can stop Alzheimer’s. The “yes” has to do with medicines and life changes that can slow it down. The medicines listed above, donepezil, memantine, and galantamine, are good, and the best we have for now. There are others in this same family of medicines that are FDA approved for Alzheimer’s and that work just as well. They slow it for a while.
The Search for a Cure or Great Treatment Continues
The search for a really good medicine for Alzheimer’s has cost hundreds of billions (with a “B”) of dollars so far, and more is spent every day. Everyone wants something to truly stop or cure Alzheimer’s. We don’t have the answer yet but we will find it. We need a medicine or treatment that reverses the brain changes. Something to allow new brain nerve cells to grow. To get someone’s life back to normal the way it was before the Alzheimer’s.
So, What Are These Medications?
Here is a link to a full and accurate list. It’s a page posted by the NIH’s National Institute on Aging on How Is Alzheimer’s Treated? As you move down the page you’ll see two tables that are really part 1 and part 2 of the same table. The top table gives the name of each medicine, what type of medicine it is and for what stage of Alzheimer’s it’s FDA approved, how it works, and common side effects.
The 2nd half of the table gives, for the same medicines, the manufacturer’s recommended dose and links for more information.
Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment – More Medicine Advice on the NIH Site
Further down on the above Institute on Aging webpage are descriptions of medicines for specific medical conditions. Also medicines for troublesome behaviors that show up when someone has more severe Alzheimer’s.
Lists of medicines “to be used with caution” are even further down the page. These are medicines for specific Alzheimer’s effects but are medicines that might create one problem while solving another.
It’s Not Because We Aren’t Trying
Universities and pharma companies have spent hundreds of billions of dollars looking for a better treatment for Alzheimer’s. And no one is stopping. All these groups will spend hundreds of billions in the next several years.
If You’re Interested in Drug that Have Failed…
We’re not going to list or talk about the many failed drugs in the search for a treatment for Alzheimer’s. If you’re interested, there’s lots of information on the Internet. You can learn about the failed drugs that have hit a brick wall and gone nowhere.
Alzheimer’s Association on Treatments
The NIH’s National Institute on Aging on How Is Alzheimer’s Treated?
The Mayo Clinic on Alzheimer’s Disease