The drug showed significant reversals in memory loss when tested on mice which leads to potential hope for millions of people currently suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
A drug used for lessening the painful effects of menstruation for women has been found to reverse memory loss in patients with Alzheimer’s, a new study suggests.
The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) was used in an animal study by a team at Manchester University in the UK led by David Brough and colleagues. They found that the drug can completely reverse memory loss and brain inflammation which are the main changes that happen in the brain of an Alzheimer’s sufferer.
The drug, called Ponstel or mefenamic acid, targets an inflammatory pathway called NLRP3 inflammasome, which can damage brain cells and no other drug, so far, has been identified as being able to do this.
“Until now, no drug has been available to target this pathway, so we are very excited by this result,” said Brough, “However, much more work needs to be done until we can say with certainty that it will tackle the disease in humans as mouse models don’t always faithfully replicate the human disease.”
The study involved two groups of 10 mice with Alzheimer’s symptoms. One group received mefenamic acid for one month via a pump under the skin, while the second group received a placebo.
The results showed that the mice with Alzheimer’s showed a complete reverse in memory loss to that of mice with no signs of Alzheimer’s. This exciting discovery could potentially help the current 5 million Americans who suffer from the life-changing disease.
But before people rush out to by the drug – a word of caution. More research needs to be done, testing on humans is the next step to see if it is as effective and whether there are any potential side-effects.
Details of the study were published in the journal Nature Communications.