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Family Practice News
The NMDA (N-methyl-d-aspartate) receptor antagonist memantine is also approved for patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s, with optimal dosing titration to 10 mg b.i.d. "Side effects are quite rare, but can include somnolence, headache, and dizziness," said Dr. Cummings, who is also chair of neurotherapeutics at the Cleveland Clinic’s Neurological Institute. "Most patients, by the time they reach mid-disease, are on both a cholinesterase inhibitor and memantine."
Other treatment options include the medical foods CerefolinNAC and Axona, which are generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration and are available by prescription. "No demonstration of clinical benefit is required for these agents," Dr. Cummings said. "The data set supporting medical foods is not as robust as the data set supporting cholinesterase inhibitors."
CerefolinNAC is a combination of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate that Dr. Cummings uses for hyperhomocysteinemia. "I know that high levels of homocysteine are correlated with cognitive impairment, so I try to reduce that by giving CerefolinNAC," he said. "However, there are no data which prove that lowering will necessarily improve the prognosis of the patient. What you are doing is piecing together various types of data to support that use, but it’s not as strong as a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial showing a direct benefit."
Axona is a proprietary formulation of medium-chain triglycerides that increase plasma concentrations of ketone bodies. "This is considered an energy source for neurons," Dr. Cummings said.
Dr. Cummings disclosed that he has provided consultation to the following pharmaceutical companies: Abbott, Acadia, Adamas, Anavex, Astellas, Avanir, Bayer, BMS, Eisai, EnVivo, ExonHit, Janssen, Forest, Genentech, GSK, Lundbeck, Merck, Neurokos, Novartis, Otsuka, Pfizer, Prana, QR Pharma, Sanofi-Aventis, and Takeda.