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FDA Approves Combo Pill for Alzheimer's

Alissa Sauer
By Alissa SauerJanuary 14, 2015

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. 

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 for Alzheimer’s 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 for Alzheimer’s? Would you give your loved one the new combo pill? Please share in the comments below.

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Alissa Sauer

Alissa Sauer

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