Alzheimer’s Drug Can Help Patients with Dementia
Swedish researchers announced on Thursday that a drug used to treat Alzheimer’s disease can improve language, memory and understanding in patients with a severe form of dementia.
Aricept, which is known generically as donepezil, is marketed by Pfizer and Japan’s Eisai Co. Ltd.
When scientists at the Karolinska Institute compared the impact of the drug against a placebo in nearly 200 elderly patients they found that people given the drug were able to function better, do daily tasks and were less reliant on nursing care.
Their speech, memory and communication skills also improved.
Professor Bengt Winblad, who led the 6-month study, said that the results were impressive.
However in another trial a week ago, Eisai announced that 11 patients with a different form of dementia had died while taking Aricept during a clinical trial.
An estimated 12 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. The number is expected to increase as the population ages.
A team of international researchers recently predicted the number of people suffering from dementia worldwide could reach 81 million by 2040.
The progressive illness robs people of their memory and mental ability.