Alzheimer's Association writes that "Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior." The symptoms with Alzheimer's usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to eventually interfere with daily tasks. In a news release on March 11, 2013, the American Academy of Neurology reported, New Add-On Drug May Improve Memory in People with Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease.
According to a phase IIa study released today, that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego, March 16 to 23, 2013, a new drug may improve memory problems in people suffering from moderate Alzheimer’s disease. This new drug is called ORM-12741. This drug is the first to target what is a specific subtype of adrenergic receptors (alpha-2C) in the brain, which are believed to be important in modulation of brain functions under stressful conditions, or the “fight or flight” response.
In the clinical trial, 100 people with moderate Alzheimer’s disease were randomly given either 30 to 60 milligrams or 100 to 200 milligrams of ORM-12741 or matching placebo pill twice a day for three months as add-on therapy to a cholinesterase drug. Also, use of memantine was allowed. These are the other Alzheimer drugs which are currently on the market. Neither the researchers nor the participants knew which treatments the participants were receiving. After three months, the researchers retested several aspects of the participants’ memory and behavior.
The participants who took ORM-12741 tested higher on the tests of memory in comparison to those who received the placebo pill. At three months, the memory scores for those participants who received the placebo pill had worsened by 33 percent, whereas the scores improved by 4 percent for those who took ORM-12741. The few drugs presently on the market for Alzheimer's have only moderate effects on the symptoms of the disease. Study author Juha Rouru, MD, of Orion Pharma in Turku, Finland has said, “Anytime you have a drug that targets a new pathway in the brain and shows effectiveness in clinical trials, it is exciting.”