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Galantamine Reduces Rate of Alzheimer's Disease Progression
In the largest long-term study of its kind, 240 AD patients were treated with 24 mg of galantamine daily for 48 months. When the cognitive performance (ability to think, reason and learn) of patients on treatment was compared to that expected from the course of the disease in untreated individuals, it was found that galantamine treatment delayed the natural course of decline by more than half. Scores on the cognitive portion of the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS-Cog) deteriorated by an average of only 12.8 points among galantamine patients, compared to an expected drop of 26 - 32 points in untreated cases.(1)
Commenting on the findings, study investigator Susanne Schwalen, MD, neurologist and European Medical Affairs Director of Jansen-Cilag, said: "Patients treated continuously with Reminyl gained 12-18 months' preservation of their cognitive function, significantly postponing their loss of independence, while reducing the burden on caregivers. Additionally, more, more than 12 per cent of Reminyl patients did not deteriorate at all during the course of the study."
Importantly, the study also confirmed the safety profile of long-term galantamine treatment. The most frequently reported side effects were agitation, falls and urinary tract infection - characteristic of any elderly population. The incidence of side effects such as nausea and vomiting, typically seen with other Alzheimer's treatments, was very low.
Experts believe the long-term efficacy of galantamine may be a result of its unique dual mechanism of action. Like other Alzheimer's disease treatments, galantamine enhances levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (a chemical "messenger" responsible for sending signals between nerve cells in the brain), which is typically deficient in Alzheimer's disease. However, unlike the others, galantamine also has a modulating effect on the brain's nicotinic receptors, increasing their effectiveness. Nicotinic receptors are thought to play a key role in attention, memory and learning.
Reminyl (galantamine) was developed by Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development under a co-development and licensing agreement with UK-based Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc. In Europe, the Middle-East and Africa, Reminyl is marketed by Janssen-Cilag with the exception of the United Kingdom and Ireland, where it is registered and marketed by Shire under a co-promotion agreement with Janssen-Cilag. The product is approved for the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease in more than 30 countries, and also is being studied in individuals with vascular dementia, mixed vascular dementia and mild cognitive impairment.