Latest Clinical Data on Namenda for Alzheimer’s Patients Confirms Beneficial Effects

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by Alice Melão |

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Alzheimer's drug Namenda

Results from four recent studies confirmed the beneficial clinical effects of Namenda (memantine), an FDA-approved Alzheimer’s therapy, to treat the disease’s behavioral and functional symptoms in people with moderate to severe disease.

The studies, sponsored by Allergan, are being presented in poster format at the 2017 annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), taking place through April 28 in Boston.

Namenda blocks the activity of specific brain receptors that are believed to be associated with Alzheimer’s symptoms. Used to treat moderate to severe dementia, the drug is also suggested to have the potential to improve memory, awareness, and the ability to perform certain daily functions.

Clinical data from a Phase 3 study, MEM-MD-50 (NCT00322153), which assessed Namenda’s safety, tolerability, and effectiveness in treating Alzheimer’s patients also taking cholinesterase inhibitors (ChEI) such as Aricept (donepezil), found the combined treatment did not improve patients’ performance in daily living activities, but had a beneficial impact on their cognitive abilities. That study concluded in 2007.

A new analysis of the data collected from the MEM-MD-50 study also shows that, while Namenda treatment did not stop functional decline in Alzheimer’s patients, it helped to delay decline, a finding that confirms results from previous clinical trials.

“The inevitable decline in function in moderate-to-severe [Alzheimer’s] patients may be ameliorated with [Namenda] treatment compared with treatment with ChEIs [Aricept] alone,” the researchers wrote.

This post-hoc trial analysis also suggested that patients with moderate-to-severe Alzheimer’s receiving Aricept could improve in several clinical areas if also treated  with Namenda, especially in stabilizing patient cognition and global status.

Detailed analysis of data pooled from three Phase 3 trials, which included data on 1,140 Alzheimer’s patients, showed that combined Aricept and Namenda therapy could reduce agitation and other behavioral problems. This effect was also found to be beneficial to caregivers, reducing their burden related to these Alzheimer’s symptoms.

Assessment of a composite score of impairment, including evaluation of language, memory, praxis, attention, and orientation in severe Alzheimer’s  patients, also confirmed the beneficial effects of Namenda.

The poster presentations are titled:

  • “Efficacy of Memantine ER on Activities of Daily Living: A Post Hoc Responder Analysis From a Randomized Trial in Patients With Moderate-to-severe Alzheimer’s Disease”
  • “Response Across Multiple Outcome Measures in a Randomized Trial of Extended-release Memantine (28 mg, once daily) in Patients with Moderate to Severe Alzheimer’s Disease Receiving Donepezil”
  • “Memantine Added to Background Cholinesterase-Inhibitors Reduces Agitation and Neuropsychiatric Symptoms in Alzheimer’s Disease”
  • “Improved Detection of Treatment Effects in Severe Alzheimer’s Disease: A Quantitatively-derived SIB-based Composite Scale”

“Allergan is extremely proud of the breadth of data being presented at AAN as it demonstrates our commitment to high quality research and development in neurology,” David Nicholson, executive vice president and president of Global Research and Development Brands at Allergan, said in a company press release.