A new meta-analysis reviewing several clinical trials suggests that a certain class of drugs could be repurposed to treat some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Researchers looked at studies using noradrenergic drugs, which can be used to treat conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The analysis was published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.
Dr Rosa Sancho, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“Alzheimer’s is a very complex disease. There are currently 143 drugs in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s, and while some counteract symptoms most target the various biological processes that could be driving the disease.
“There is currently a lack of drugs approved to treat apathy in Alzheimer’s, a symptom that has been linked to lower quality of life, faster decline and increased stress for carers.
“This well-conducted meta-analysis highlights the potential of noradrenergic drugs to treat some aspects of Alzheimer’s, but the evidence in the trials reviewed here varies in quality and it’s hard to directly compare results from each study because the methods used are not consistent.
“We can’t be sure yet what effect these drugs could have on a person’s day-to-day life, and we don’t know whether any benefits they provide would outweigh the risks.
“While there are limitations to the evidence reviewed in this paper, it highlights a need for well-conducted clinical trials to determine whether drugs that already treat conditions like ADHD could be safe and beneficial for people with Alzheimer’s. Research like this will help keep people connected to their families, their worlds and themselves for longer.”