Good news for the estimated 4.5 million Americans with Alzheimer's Disease. The Food and Drug Administration has given the green light to the first ever drug approved for patients with advanced Alzheimer's. Memantine has been used in Germany to treat patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer's and it's helped some patients improve their memory and thinking skills. A vast majority of the patients taking the drug show a slower pace of deterioration, compared to patients who don't take it. There are only 4 drugs on the market to treat Alzheimer's but one local doctor says this one shows promise.
"It works by blocking glutamic acid and that is thought to reduce actual brain cell loss which doesn't happened with the other group of drugs," Dr. Anthony Ellis, Ingham Regional Medical Center.
Memantine which will be sold in the U.S. under the brand name Namenda will be available in January. Side effects include restlessness and agitation. It's also being used to treat Parkinson's Disease or other diseases that are known to cause brain cell loss.