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Dimebon Improves Alzheimer's Symptoms

Armen Hareyan's picture

An old hay fever drug Dimebon is found to significantly improve Alzheimer's disease symptoms.

Dimebon is a drug initially designed as an antihistamine for hayfever treatment. The drug was licensed in Russia, but it was later taken off the market, because there were newer and better working drugs licensed.

Researchers examined 183 patients with mild and moderate dementia who did not receive any treatment. Half of patients were given a 20 mg dose of Dimebon 3 times a day, and the other half was given a placebo. Six months later patients were checked for memory status by asking to recall words and perform simple tasks. Those taking Dimebon scored four points better than those taking the placebo.

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Patients taking Dimebon reported condition improvement after 6 months, compared to the condition they had before the study begun, bu those taking placebo reported worsened condition.

A small group of patients continued taking the drug continued the study for another 6 months and showed a 7 point difference compared to placebo group.

Currently, there is no drug for Alzheimer's, which can improve memory condition in 12 month period. Available drugs are providing with a very small benefit compared to Dimebon, but still this study is not enough to start using it as Alzheimer's treatment.

Rebecca Wood from Alzheimer's Research Trust said: "The recent announcement of an additional phase III trial is encouraging. More research on this scale is desperately needed if we are to offer hope to the 700,000 people in the UK who live with Alzheimer's and other dementias."

Researchers prefer to further develop licensed old drugs, rather than design new ones, because it is easier. Therefore, scientists are very optimistic about Dimebon and they plan to conduct a larger study to make sure it can be used as Alzheimer's treatment.