Drug fails in Alzheimer's trial

From our spring 2018 issue of Care and Cure magazine, we explore the successes and failures of recent trials for Alzheimer's disease.

In January we learned the disappointing news that the drug idalopirdine had failed to improve thinking ability or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s in people with the condition who took part in a recent clinical trial.

In early trials, idalopirdine had looked promising. There were signs that it might improve cognition – or thinking ability – when taken alongside cholinesterase inhibitors, another type of drug commonly prescribed to treat the symptoms of dementia.

In the most recent trial, a team of international researchers tested the effects of idalopirdine in 2,525 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease in 34 countries. For 24 weeks people received either the drug or a placebo, which has no effect as so is used to compare against any effect the drug treatment might have.

Unfortunately, the researchers found no improvement in cognition among people who received the drug compared to those who took the placebo. They also found no effect on the progression of people’s Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr James Pickett, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

‘These results indicate that this type of drug may not have the effects we were hoping for in people with Alzheimer’s and we need to broaden our focus.'

Researchers learn from each research study and clinical trial. This means that even a negative result is something that researchers can use to help to focus on the next opportunity to understand, treat and cure dementia.

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