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New Study Shows that Alzheimerís Drug May Help People with Parkinsonís

A report in the December 7 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine shows that Exelonģ (rivastigmine tartrate), an Alzheimerís medication, may be moderately effective in the treatment of dementia in Parkinsonís patients. This information comes from the first large-scale, placebo-controlled clinical trial of a potential treatment for the problem of dementia in Parkinsonís.

Exelon, a dual cholinesterase inhibitor, has already been approved for treating Alzheimerís disease. The new report suggests that the product may also be useful in improving cognition and some aspects of behavior among people with Parkinsonís disease.

The study enrolled 541 participants, who were randomly assigned a placebo group or a treatment group taking increasing dosages from 3 to 12 mg of Exelon per day for 24 weeks. Clinical investigators used two scales to assess the medicationís efficacy: the Alzheimerís Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS-cog) and the Alzheimerís Disease Cooperative Study Ė Clinicianís Global Impression of Change (ADCS-CGIC). Using these scales, investigators concluded that people in the Exelon treatment group experienced moderate improvements in cognitive symptoms (for example, memory impairments and attention problems) and behavioral problems such as agitation and mood swings, compared to participants taking placebo.

The most frequent side-effects reported with Exelon use were nausea, vomiting and a worsening of tremor. This study was sponsored by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.

Source Date: Dec 10 2004