While to treat patients with anxiety disorders, ADHD,

While
no cure or totally effective medication has yet been created, there are a
number of memory loss medications with FDA approval and on the market at this
time. These medications can only help manage the symptoms and, in few cases,
slow down the rate of progression of the disease. (alzheimers.ie,
n.d.)  However, these medications can be unpopular
because of their unpleasant side effects which can be particularly tough on
older people with the disease. (National institute of aging,
2017)

Current medications on the market in the United States of America:

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Generic
name

Brand
name

Approved
for

Donepezil

Aricept

All stages

Galantamine

Razadyne

Mild to moderate

Revastigmine

Exelon

Mild to moderate

Memantine

Namenda

Moderate to severe

Donepezil + Memantine

Namzaric

Moderate to severe

(alz.org, n.d.)

 

These available treatments are only the small
percentage that make it past the clinical trial. Hundreds of different
compounds are produced in labs with the hope of finally finding the cure to
this disease however, there has been no such luck yet. Below are a few of the experimental
drugs that are being tested and examined today:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Donepezil:
Used to treat the symptoms of
Alzheimer’s by improving memory of patients, However, does not slowdown or stop
the disease in any way.

Fig.1.)
Chemical formula:  C24H29NO3

 

 

Galantamine:
This drug is used to treat Alzheimer’s
and several other nervous system diseases. This drug is isolated from plants
from the Amaryllidaceae family such
as the Caucasian snowdrop, the daffodil and the red spider lily.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig.2.)
Chemical formula:  C17H21NO3
 

Revastigmine:
Used f
the treatment of mild to moderate due to Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s
disease. The drug can be administered via transdermal patch which can lessen
the intensity of the side effects. the latter form reduces the prevalence of
side effects.

 

Fig.3.)
Chemical formula:  C14H22N2O2
 
 

 

 

 

Memantine:
Memantine is used to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s
disease. It acts on the glutamatergic system by
blocking NMDA receptors. This drug has also been used to treat
patients with anxiety disorders, ADHD, OCD and various other neurological
disorders.

Fig.4.)
Chemical formula:  C12H21N
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first three drugs on this list, Donepezil,
Galantamine and Revastigmine are all a form of drug which are called acetylcholinesterase
inhibitor. These
are drugs that stop or slow down enzymes from breaking down acetylcholine when
it is transported between two cells. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter which helps
to transport signals across the nerves synapses to anther nerve. This means
that the low levels of acetylcholine present in alzheimers patients brains,
diminishes at a slower rate which results in higher concentrations of
acetylcholine, leading to increased communication between nerve cells, which in
turn, may temporarily improve or stabilise the symptoms of dementia. Some
people who take cholinesterase inhibitors experience side-effects. Side-effects
from these drugs are most common when someone first administers them but,
fortunately, they often settle down with time. The most likely side effects are
diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, lowered blood pressure, insomnia,
fatigue and loss of appetite. Other reported side effects include falls and
dizziness. If the dose is increased gradually the likelihood of side effects is
lower. When prescribing these drugs, the doctor must ensure they are aware of
the patient’s medical history because they can be harmful in people with a
history of peptic ulcers, asthma, liver or kidney disease, or a very slow heart
rate. (dementia australia, 2006)

 

 

 

 

Fig.5.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fourth drug on the list, Memantine, is a
different type of drug which acts
on the glutamatergic system by blocking NMDA receptors.
An increased level of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor
hypofunction within the brain is associated with the symptoms of Alzheimer’s
such as memory loss and psychosis. As the brain ages, the NMDA receptors become
progressively slower, contributing to decreases in new memory formation and
learning performance. In order to restrict this progressive
deterioration of the NMDA receptors, Memantine works by regulating the activity
of glutamate which is a chemical involved in the processing of new information
and the storage of new memory. Glutamate plays an essential role in learning
and memory by triggering NMDA receptors to let a controlled amount of calcium
into a nerve cell. The calcium helps create the chemical environment required
for information storage. Excess glutamate, however, overstimulates NMDA
receptors so that they allow too much calcium into the nerve cells. That leads
to disruption and death of cells. Memantine protects cells against excess
glutamate by partially blocking MNDA receptors. (Alzheimer’s
asociation, n.d.)

 

 

 

Fig.6.)
Comparison of Memantine
and Cholinesterase Inhibitor

 

 

 

The last drug on the list is a combination of Donepezil and
Memantine which is commercially called Namzaric. This is subscribed in moderate
to severe cases of Alzheimer’s but can have serious side effects such as slower
heartbeat, nausea , increased production of stomach acid which can increase
risk of bleeding and stomach ulcers, and in some cases, seizures.
People taking Namzaric may see an improvement in cognition and brain function
overall, and a temporary delay in the worsening of symptoms. Unfortunately, as
with all Alzheimer’s medications on the market today, there is no evidence of
this drug stopping or curing the degenerative disease in any way. (Alzheimer’s
asociation, n.d.)

Bibliography

alz.org, n.d. Medications
for memory loss. Online
Available at: https://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_standard_prescriptions.asp
Alzheimer’s asociation, n.d. FDA approved
treatments of Alzheimer’s. Online
Available at: https://www.alz.org/dementia/downloads/topicsheet_treatments.pdf
alzheimers.ie, n.d. Treating dementia. Online

Available at: https://www.alzheimer.ie/Living-with-dementia/I-have-Dementia/Treatments.aspx
dementia australia, 2006. Drug treatments for Alzheimer’s
disease. Online
Available at: https://www.dementia.org.au/files/helpsheets/Helpsheet-DementiaQandA01-CholinesteraseInhibitors_english.pdf
National institute of aging, 2017. How is
alzheimer’s disease treated. Online
Available at: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/how-alzheimers-disease-treated
 

 

 

 

 

Picture references:

Fig.1) What
is Donepezil. Retrieved from http://donepezil.com/

Fig.5) What are Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. Retrieved
from https://peaknootropics.com/using-acetylcholinesterase-inhibitors-nootropics/
Fig.6) Treatment of Alzheimer’s. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/WIWomensHealth/franczak-presentation