Older news items (pre-2010) brought over from the old website
Reduced risk of institutionalization in patients with dementia
A study of 596 patients from 7 countries found that dementia patients receiving long-term treatment with REMINYL (more than 36 months) may be able to stay at home for longer compared to those receiving treatment for shorter periods of time. Experts believe the long-term clinical efficacy of galantamine may be because as well as enhancing levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, it also (unlike other treatments), has a modulating effect on the brain's nicotinic receptors, which is believed to increase their effectiveness. Nicotinic receptors are thought to play a key role in attention, memory and learning.
Pirttilä, T., van Baelen, B. & Kavanagh, S. 2004. Effect of galantamine on time to residential or nursing home admission. Poster presented at the 17th European Congress of Neuropsychopharmacology, Stockholm, Sweden 2004.
Patients' medications eases caregiver distress
In a new analysis of an earlier study, researchers have discovered that the drugs currently used to alleviate the symptoms of Alzheimer’s not only help confusion and memory loss, but also alleviates or delays symptoms like agitation, depression, and psychosis, and thus have flow-on effects of alleviating the burden on caregivers. For patients not already exhibiting behavioral problems, treatment with galantamine delayed their symptoms for more than three years on average. This is added impetus to treat patients with dementia with cholinesterase inhibitors as early as possible.
Cummings, J.L., Schneider, L., Tariot, P.N., Kershaw, P.R. & Yuan, W. 2004. Reduction of Behavioral Disturbances and Caregiver Distress by Galantamine in Patients With Alzheimer’s Disease. American Journal of Psychiatry, 161, 532-538.
ARICEPT better than Reminyl for cognition
Results from the first study to directly compare the two Alzheimer drugs, ARICEPT® (donepezil HCl tablets) and Reminyl® (galantamine HBr tablets), found that ARICEPT-treated patients showed significant benefit over patients receiving Reminyl®. Not only were cognitive benefits greater, but ARICEPT® was tolerated significantly better.
The study was presented at the 7th International Geneva/Springfield Symposium on Advances in Alzheimer Therapy (AAT) in Geneva, Switzerland.
Reminyl may help those with vascular dementia
Reminyl (galantamine) may be effective in treating dementia in patients with cerebrovascular disease, such as stroke. Data from a study presented at the XVII World Congress of Neurology show that Reminyl improves memory, orientation and language skills of patients with vascular dementia or a combination of Alzheimer's disease and cerebrovascular disease ("mixed" dementia) for at least 12 months. The results also showed that Reminyl improved or maintained the ability of these individuals to perform normal activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing and doing housework. However, Reminyl is not yet approved for the treatment of vascular dementia.
Potential impact of Reminyl on caregiver 'burden' in Alzheimer's disease
Several studies presented at the Tenth Congress of the International Psychogeriatric Association (IPA) assessed the impact of Reminyl treatment on patient functioning by exploring the resulting impact on time required of family caregivers. One study of 435 patients from Europe and Canada, focused on the time caregivers spent supervising their family members or assisting them with activities of daily living, such as dressing and bathing. It was found that the time required to supervise patients who received a placebo increased by approximately two hours per day over the six months, while the time spent supervising individuals who took Reminyl did not increase significantly. In addition, the time that caregivers spent assisting patients on placebo with daily-living activities increased steadily throughout the trial, totalling an average of 23 extra minutes per day by the end of six months. On the other hand, caregivers of patients taking Reminyl reported a decrease in the amount of time spent assisting their charges by an average of 38 minutes per day.
A different study focused on caregiver distress and analysed data from a five-month study of 286 U.S. patients. Participating caregivers rated the degree of distress they experienced in response to 10 types of patient symptoms, such as hallucinations, delusions and agitation. The analysis found that after five months, distress significantly increased among those caring for patients who took placebo. In contrast, distress scores were not significantly different at the end of the study than at the beginning for those caring for persons who received Reminyl.
Galantamine therapy shows sustained cognitive benefits for Alzheimer's patients
Previous studies have demonstrated the benefits of galantamine (Reminyl™) treatment in terms of efficacy and safety in the short-term. A recent study followed 636 Alzheimer’s patients over two years, and found that patients receiving galantamine throughout the study maintained cognitive benefits, while the placebo comparison group declined. Moreover, the cognitive benefits of galantamine increased over time, relative to the predicted rates of decline in untreated patients.
The study was presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 53rd Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.
Another drug for Alzheimer's sufferers
Another drug for Alzheimer's sufferers has been approved by the FDA. Reminyl® is of the same nature as the other three medications already available( Cognex®, Aricept®, and Exelon®). These are all cholinesterase inhibitors; they interfere with the action of an enzyme that would otherwise reduce the brain's supply of acetylcholine, a chemical messenger that is essential for thought processes and nerve function.