Researcher: Dr Constantine Lyketsos
- Drug Citalopram significantly relieved agitation in Alzheimer’s patients
- Helped to reduce emotional distress, excessive moment and aggression
- Also safer than the antipsychotic drugs currently used to treat condition
- But patients had slightly decreased cognitive function, a study found
- Researchers tested 186 Alzheimer’s patients with variety of symptoms
- Popular anti-depressant sold under the brand names Celexa and Cipramil
A widely-used anti-depressant could help ease the symptoms of Alzheimer’s sufferers, a study has found.
The drug Citalopram – sold under the brand names Celexa and Cipramil – significantly relieved agitation in a group of patients with the condition.
It helped to reduce their emotional distress, excessive movement, aggression and disruptive irritability.
The drug, known as Citalopram Hydrobromide, was also found to be safer than the antipsychotic drugs currently used to treat the condition – with a lower risk of strokes or heart attacks.
It was tested on 186 Alzheimer’s patients with varying symptoms during clinical trials at Johns Hopkins University and seven other American and Canadian academic medical centres.
Researchers found the drug produced irregular heart beats in some patients – but the risk was lower than that of antipsychotic drugs.
Antipsychotics, which are often used as first-line medications for Alzheimer’s-related agitation, can significantly increase the risk of strokes, heart attacks and death in sufferers.
Dr Constantine Lyketsos, who led the study, said the popular anti-depression could be a ‘safer’ choice of medication for Alzheimer’s patients.
‘If the agitation is not responding to non-medication treatments and your patient’s agitation isn’t improving, there are no great options,’ he said.
‘But here’s another medication choice that might be safer than other medications and seems to be just as effective.’
During the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, patients initially underwent tests to define the extent of their agitation, memory and other cognitive skills.
The stress levels of their caregivers were also measured as this is a factor strongly linked to the well-being of those with Alzheimer’s.
The patients – all of whom had previously experienced no adequate symptom relief with non-medical therapies or other antipsychotic drugs – were then separated into two groups.
Over the next nine weeks, 50 per cent took increasing doses of citalopram that peaked at 30 milligrams per day, while the rest took a placebo.
At the end of the study, the same set of tests was given, along with electrocardiograms.
Dr Lyketsos said the results showed that 40 per cent of patients on Citalpram had experienced ‘considerable’ relief from agitation symptoms – compared to just 26 per cent of patients who took the placebo.
The caregivers for these patients also reported less stress.
However, Dr Lyketsos said patients on the anti-depressant were found to have slightly decreased cognitive function – adding: ‘It was not huge, but measureable. That introduces a tradeoff.’
Patients on Citalopram also had longer QTc intervals – a measure of abnormal heart function that increases the risk of heart attacks.
But Dr Lyketsos added antipsychotic medications also used to treat agitation increase heart attack risk as well – perhaps even more substantially.
Dr Lyketsos and his colleagues now hope to carry out further tests to determine whether a lower dose of Citalopram might be just as effective in treating Alzheimer’s-related agitation – but with less risk for cognition and heart function.
Aντικαταθλιπτικό φάρμακο κατά των συμπτωμάτων του Αλτσχάιμερ
Τα νευροψυχιατρικά συμπτώματα (συναισθηματική ένταση, υπερκινητικότητα, επιθετικότητα, ευερεθιστότητα, έλλειψη αναστολών κ.α.), είναι πολύ συχνά στους ασθενείς με Αλτσχάιμερ και είναι δύσκολο να αντιμετωπιστούν με φάρμακα. Συνήθως χρησιμοποιούνται αντιψυχωσικά, αλλά με περιορισμένη αποτελεσματικότητα. Η σιταλοπράμη προτάθηκε ως εναλλακτική λύση, όμως ως τώρα δεν ήταν γνωστό κατά πόσο αποτελεί αποτελεσματική και ασφαλή επιλογή.
Source: Daily Mail
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