Drug to Treat Alzheimer's Proves Dangerous

The Physicians Committee

Drug to Treat Alzheimer's Proves Dangerous

July 25, 2013

What scientists had hoped to be a promising new drug in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease proved dangerous in its final phase of testing. The trial randomized 1,537 men and women with probable Alzheimer’s disease into three groups of recipients: placebo, 100 milligrams of semagacestat, or 140 milligrams of semagacestat. Changes in cognition and functioning worsened for all three groups with the worst scores seen in the groups that received the experimental drug. Patients treated with semagacestat lost more weight and had more skin cancers, infections, and gastrointestinal problems, compared with those who received the placebo. The trial was terminated early due to safety concerns.

To date, the safest and most promising hope for Alzheimer’s disease is prevention through lifestyle changes. Read the Physicians Committee’s Dietary Guidelines for Alzheimer’s Prevention here.

Doody RS, Rama R, Farlow M, et al. A phase 3 trial of semagacestat for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. N Engl J Med. 2013;369:341-350.

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