How Can Donepezil & Memantine Slow Alzheimer’s Progression?

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Though scientists are still hoping for a breakthrough that will lead toward completely preventing Alzheimer’s disease, they have recently focused on the drugs donepezil and memantine in an effort to slow the condition’s progression. The Naples, FL, Alzheimer’s care experts at Home Care Assistance discuss the studies on these 2 medications and how they could affect Alzheimer’s.

Donepezil vs. Memantine

Donepezil has long been used to treat early-stage Alzheimer’s. The drug is an enzyme blocker that helps restore the natural balance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Memantine is more often used to treat more advanced Alzheimer’s. It works by blocking the action of glutamate in the brain that is believed to contribute to Alzheimer’s symptoms. Neither drug cures Alzheimer’s, but they can both potentially slow the progression of the disease.

Possible Benefits of Combination Therapy

A study published in the journal Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders showed that a combination therapy using both donepezil and memantine may be more effective in slowing Alzheimer’s-related functional and cognitive decline than single-drug therapy. Researchers from the memory disorders unit of Massachusetts General Hospital followed a group of 382 individuals with Alzheimer’s for an average of 2.5 years. This was the first study of its kind to look at the long-term benefits of these medications. 

Results of the Combination Therapy Study

At the end of the study, the participants were reevaluated to determine their level of cognitive function and their ability to engage in activities of daily living. Even when taking into consideration the differences in how early they were diagnosed as well as other underlying health conditions, the group that received both donepezil and memantine showed significantly less cognitive decline and a higher level of function than the groups that received no medication or donepezil alone. The researchers did not study memantine on its own because donepezil and similar drugs were already in widespread use by the time it was released. 

Further Advances in Combination Therapy

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug called Namzaric, which offers fixed doses of both donepezil and memantine in one capsule. The medication comes in two different strengths, and the capsules can even be opened and sprinkled on food for individuals who have difficulty swallowing.

Though medications may be helpful in the battle against Alzheimer’s, there are more holistic options seniors can turn to as well. At Home Care Assistance, we offer a program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method, which used mentally stimulating activities to help slow cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. For more information on our high-quality in-home senior care, Naples, FL, families can contact Home Care Assistance at (239) 449-4701. Our Client Care Managers are available 24/7 to take your call and schedule a free in-home consultation.

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