Hay fever treatment could improve Alzheimer's symptoms

A drug used to treat hay fever could help improve symptoms in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease, according to US research.

The study involved 183 Alzheimer’s sufferers who were randomly assigned to receive 20mg of the antihistamine dimedon, three times a day, or placebo.

After six months, the researchers found that memory, behaviour and the ability to conduct simple activities like eating improved among the patients who were taking dimebon.

The researchers, from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, concluded that ‘the continued and increasing benefit of dimedon over the course of this study is especially important because at present no approved therapies for mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease have shown increasing improvement over 12 months’.

Susan Sorensen, head of research at Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘These initial findings imply that dimebon could be more effective than treatments currently licensed for people with Alzheimer’s, however this was a modest-sized study.

‘More substantial research is now needed, which studies more people over a longer period of time, to investigate the true value of this drug and whether it treats Alzheimer’s disease itself or just the symptoms.’

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

The Lancet

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