Pharmacologic management of Alzheimer disease, Part I: Hormonal and emerging investigational drug therapies.

OBJECTIVE: To provide information about current genetic research in Alzheimer disease (AD) and potential pharmacologic interventions. Investigational pharmacologic management of AD, including serenics, hormonal therapy, neurotransmitter augmentation, neurobiologic agents, nootropics, and ampakines are also reviewed.

DATA SOURCES: Studies, review articles, and editorials identified from MEDLINE searches (from January 1993 to December 1996), and bibliographies of identified articles.

STUDY SELECTION: Studies, review articles, and editorials addressing current areas of AD pharmacotherapy research, including hormonal therapy and select investigational agents.

DATA EXTRACTION: Pertinent information was selected and the data were synthesized into a review format.

DATA SYNTHESIS: AD is a devastating disease characterized by progressive memory loss, cognitive decline, and behavioral disturbances. The behavioral problems associated with AD can present a difficult clinical challenge. Many patients with AD are intolerant of traditional pharmacologic management, including antipsychotics, antidepressants, and anxiolytics. Hormonal agents, including estrogen, medroxyprogesterone, and cyproterone acetate, may be efficacious therapeutic alternatives in the management of sexual behavioral disturbances in men. Research regarding estrogen’s role in AD prevention and effect on cognitive function and behavioral symptoms in women with AD are evaluated. Studies evaluating neurotransmitter augmentation and neurobiologic agents in AD are reviewed.

CONCLUSIONS: Environmental, genetic, neurobiologic, hormonal, and neurotransmitter influences, and their respective roles in AD pathology, are being investigated. Researchers concur that it is imperative to recognize the correlation of these factors in the etiology of AD to design effective prevention and treatment strategies. Additional studies are essential to elucidate the most efficacious treatments for AD and the attendant behavioral disturbances.

Source: Ann Pharmacother 1999 Feb;33(2):178-87

PMID: 10084414, UI: 99181905

(Department of Pharmaceutical and Administrative Sciences, School of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions, Creighton University, St. Joseph Villa Nursing Center, Omaha, NE 68178, USA. )

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