Be wary of medications prescribed for patients suffering from Dementia.

At long last – un-conned!


There is hope! at least there is one honest drug dealer (Oops! Sorry… drug producer). Now perhaps meaningful progress can commence? Someone once commented that… “Knowing the right question is the beginning of wisdom!” … and now that Pfizer’s have apparently grasped the wisdom in these words – perhaps real progress can commence? Well done Pfizer’s! Let’s hope that the other ‘wannabee’ drug producers will follow suit.

For years there have been rumours /claims that the expensive medication prescribed for dementia is at best a placebo and at worst a hoax? And given the nature of the disease, the only cohort for whom it could possibly be considered a placebo, would have been the family and loved ones of people suffering from dementia. (These ineffective drugs would of course have had a positive; perhaps even euphoric effect on Bank managers as they avariciously watched the shekels flow into their accounts!).

But at last the truth is being revealed! It has been admitted that the many widely promoted drugs prescribed for people suffering from dementia, at best have a six- month window of effectiveness; or at worst are a hoax, whose side effects additionally often result in an unnecessary increase in the prevalence of falls suffered by Seniors. One will of course need to re-educate many medicos, susceptible to the wiles of sweet-talking medical reps… a tendency exacerbated by the fact that many GPs are ignorant on matters pertaining to geriatric medicine. But now that a leading drug manufacturer, such as Pfizer’s, has had the courage to come clean, a more realistic attitude to the ineffectiveness of these drugs will follow.


The following article, courtesy of Dominick Reuter/AFP reveals the truth:


Pfizer said it would be abandoning its neuroscience development programs and allocating its spending elsewhere.
Pfizer has announced plans to end its research efforts to discover new drugs for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The pharmaceutical giant explained its decision, which will entail roughly 300 layoffs, as a move to better position itself “to bring new therapies to patients who need them.” “As a result of a recent comprehensive review, we have made the decision to end our neuroscience discovery and early development efforts and re-allocate [spending] to those areas where we have strong scientific leadership and that will allow us to provide the greatest impact for patients,” Pfizer said in a statement emailed to NPR.

Pfizer added that it will “continue to fully support” development on tanezumab and Lyrica, two treatments targeting chronic pain, as well as programs researching rare neurological diseases.
The round of several hundred layoffs “will take place over the coming months” at its research and development labs in the Northeast — specifically, sites in Cambridge and Andover, Mass., and in Groton, Conn.”Any decision impacting colleagues is difficult; however, we believe this will best position the company to bring meaningful new therapies to market, and will bring the most value for shareholders and patients.”


In a Special Series Publication by Inside Alzheimer’s, the following was revealed:


British neuroscientist Joseph Jebelli recently told “Fresh Air,” current treatments have proved far less than ideal. “The current medication for Alzheimer’s disease is approved, essentially, because it’s better than nothing,” Jebelli said last week. “These drugs were pioneered in the ’70s and ’80s and they treat the symptoms, as opposed to the underlying biology. And we found that in about 60 percent of patients these drugs will delay the symptoms by about six months to a year. And that is certainly better than nothing. … But six months to a year is just simply not good enough.”

Despite heavily funding research efforts into potential treatments in the past, Pfizer has faced high-profile disappointment in recent years, as Reuters notes: “In 2012, Pfizer and partner Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) called off additional work on the drug bapineuzumab after it failed to help patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s in its second round of clinical trials.”

Another potential treatment for neurodegenerative disorders — this one developed by Axovant, another pharmaceutical company — also found itself recently abandoned. The company dropped its experimental drug intepirdine after it failed to improve motor function in patients with a certain form of dementia — just three months after it also failed to show positive effects in Alzheimer’s patients.
The stock prices of both Pfizer and Axovant fell Monday on news of the companies’ decisions. As The Wall Street Journal reports, treatments for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases are seen as a crucial beacon of hope for patients and their families. And with an estimated 5.5 million people suffering from Alzheimer’s in the U.S. and about half a million Americans suffering from Parkinson’s, these treatments are seen by many in the pharmaceutical industry and other market watchers as having “multibillion-dollar sales potential,” the Journal says.


And so this honest admittance by Pfizer’s, regarding the effectiveness of long touted medications, hopefully heralds a new dawn – one in which real progress can be made in the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease.


Henry Spencer
Author; gerontologist and motivation speaker on retirement matters
Phone: 072-514 0913