FDA Approves Combo Pill for Alzheimer’s

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a combination pill to treat people for moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease. Learn more about this drug treatment and how it may be able to help your loved one living with Alzheimer’s. 

FDA Approves Combo Pill For Alzheimer's

Using Drugs to Treat Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease affects over 36 million people worldwide and there is no cure in sight. While doctors and researchers continue to encourage prevention, they are also working diligently to find a cure for people who have the disease. Drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s are called cholinesterase inhibitors. These drugs have been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s symptoms for about 6 to 12 months.

Different types of cholinesterase inhibitors have been approved for the different stages of Alzheimer’s, with one pill being approved for all four stages. Common side effects for all of the medications include vomiting, nausea, fatigue, insomnia, and weight loss.

The New Combo Pill

The FDA has now approved a combination pill for people with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease. The combination pill will be for people who are already taking both of medications which are included in the new pill. The pill is called Namzaric and combines memantine hydrochloride extended-release (also known as Namenda) and donepezil hydrocholoride (also known as Aricept).

Currently 70% of people on Namenda XR are also on Aricept. Aricept is the only FDA approved drug that is approved for use in all stages of Alzheimer’s. David Nicholson, phD and senior vice president of global brands R&D for the drugmaker Actavis said, “Both Namenda XR and donepezil have proven efficacy and safety for the treatment of moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease.” He went on to say that people who took the combo pill have shown greater improvement than just taking donepizal (Aricept) alone.

Because the new drug combines two common Alzheimer’s medications, patients will take less pills. It will be available in a capsule form so the medication can be sprinkled on food. Namzaric is expected to be available in the United States this year.

What do you think about the new combo pill? Would you give your loved one the new combo pill? Please share in the comments below.

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Please leave your thoughts and comments

  • caregiver

    I do not believe anyone with moderate or severe alz would want to delay their disease. Meeting and talking to hundreds of people at daycare in my mothers beginning stages, I never met anyone who thought namenda or aricept did anything except increase aggitation in their loved ones. I cannot imagine combining these pills. Ive been a one on one caregiver in my home with my Mom now in the last stage of dementia/alz for years 8 now. I and am patiently waiting for someone to find a cure before it starts :(. I sure would love to at least have someone to help me each morning but I dont even get that unless I pay privately, just doesnt seem fair. A nursing home is a “never” for my Mom, she is too precious.

    • maria

      Hello caregiver, I am just coming across these posts while reading about the new combo med. I completely identify with your situation. It took a long time to get help with my Mom as I too am the single care provider since a nursing home is not an option for us as well. Although I do not know your Mom’s financial situation, there is help out there. Get in touch with local organizations and associations such as Senior, Alzheimer’s, etc., and even your local politicians about what she may be entitled to. If your only option is private pay, it may help to at least have someone for a few hours each day. In re: to meds, I must say they have helped somewhat with Mom but of course nothing major. I will consult our Dr. re: this new med before considering giving it a shot. All the best.

  • VFARROW

    My mother has idiopathic dementia at age 85. She was on Namenda and Aricept but we deleted the Aricept and are using the Excelon patch. Moderate results. It will be interesting to see if these drugs are combined to cause a synergistic affect with better results than taken seperately.

  • julie

    using the combo with using both of these drugs Namenda 20 mg with Donepezil does really work. For my mother she is a different person. She is not combative like she was. Her memory comes and goes, but all around she is somewhat better to me. They also up her prozac to 40 mg. took her off the lorazepam.

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