Unique Treatment for Alzheimer's Disease Improves Behavioural Symptoms for Patients - Ebixa Can Provide Benefits Alone or in Combination

MONTREAL, Feb. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - A new study recently published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry shows that Ebixa(R) (memantine) is effective in treating and preventing behavioural symptoms such as agitation and aggression in Alzheimer's disease patients. These symptoms are known to be associated with rapid disease progression, increased caregiver burden, early institutionalisation and increased costs of care.(1)
    
Other approved Alzheimer's drugs, such as the newly launched Exelon Patch (rivastigmine transdermal system), have shown benefits to patients in terms of memory, cognition and the ability to perform everyday tasks.(2)
    
"Behavioural changes such as the onset of agitation and aggression are representative of a 'tipping point' in Alzheimer's disease when the burden faced by caregivers becomes even greater," said Dr. Serge Gauthier, lead author of the study, and Neurologist, McGill Centre for Studies in Aging, Montreal. "According to my analysis of a number of clinical studies on memantine, the drug may be a useful treatment option in cases where behavioural symptoms have worsened and are causing distress to both the patient and caregiver."
    
The study, which pooled data from six, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind studies, shows that memantine alone or in combination with treatment such as Exelon and Aricept consistently produced favourable effects on agitation and aggression, the most frequent behavioural symptom and the most problematic as cited by caregivers.(3) Memantine was also shown to prevent the emergence of several behavioural symptoms including agitation, aggression, irritability, mood-swings and night-time disturbances.(4)
    
Symptoms such as agitation, aggression and psychosis are common in Alzheimer's disease and can be very disturbing for both patients and
caregivers.(5) These changes represent an aspect of the disease burden that is physically, emotionally, and economically challenging and correspond to an acceleration disease progression and early transfer to institutional care.(6)

In addition, such behavioural changes are associated with increased caregiver burden and increased cost of care.(7) Ebixa has been shown to reduce caregiver burden alone or in combination with commonly used treatment such as Exelon and
Aricept.     

Alzheimer's disease in Canada     

Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, is a progressive, degenerative disease that alters the brain. In 2008, an estimated
97,000 Canadians will develop Alzheimer's disease or a related disease and by 2011 new cases of dementia are expected to reach 111,430 per year.(8) Statistics show that more than one third of Canadians (36 per cent) know someone with Alzheimer's disease and that the burden of care most often falls on women - usually the wife or adult daughter of the person affected.(9),(10)     

About Ebixa     

Ebixa works differently from cholinesterase inhibitors, the other approved class of drugs for Alzheimer's disease. It is the only NMDA (N methyl-D-aspartate) receptor antagonists approved in Canada. Ebixa helps to reduce the negative effects of elevated, sustained levels of the
neurotransmitter 'glutamate' (a chemical in the brain important for learning and memory).
    
Ebixa was approved under Health Canada's notice of compliance with condition policy status. Medications approved with this status have
demonstrated a promising benefit, are of high quality and possess an acceptable safety profile based on a benefit/risk assessment. In addition,
they either respond to a serious unmet medical need in Canada or have demonstrated a significant improvement in the benefit/risk profile over
existing therapies. Health Canada has provided access to Ebixa with the understanding that Lundbeck Canada completes a clinical trial to corroborate already existing efficacy data.     

About Lundbeck     

Lundbeck Canada Inc. is a research-based pharmaceutical company, specializing in the development and marketing of medications used for the treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders. In addition to EBIXA(R), the company markets CIPRALEX(R) and CELEXA(R) for the treatment of depression, KEPPRA(R) for the treatment of epilepsy, and CLOPIXOL(R) and FLUANXOL(R) for the treatment of schizophrenia. Lundbeck has products in development in the areas of depression, sleep disorders, Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia.
Lundbeck Canada Inc. has its head office in Montreal and employs over 140 people in Canada.     

EBIXA(R) - is a registered trademark of Merz Pharma GmbH. Under licence to Lundbeck Canada Inc.      CIPRALEX(R), CELEXA(R), CLOPIXOL(R), FLUANXOL(R) - are registered trademarks of Lundbeck Canada Inc.     

KEPPRA(R) - is a registered trademark of UCB SA. Distributed by Lundbeck Canada Inc.      References:      <<
     ---------------------------
     (1)  S. Gauthier, H. Loft, and J. Cummings. Improvement in behavioural
          symptoms in patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease by
          memantine: a pooled data analysis. International Journal of
          Geriatric Psychiatry, 2007, page 1.
     (2)  Winblad B, Cummings J, et al. A 6-Month Double-blind, Randomized,
          Placebo-Controlled Study of a Transdermal Patch in Alzheimer's
          Disease - Rivastigmine Patch versus Capsule. International Journal
          of Geriatric Psychiatry May 2007: 22: 5:485-491.
     (3)  S. Gauthier, H. Loft, and J. Cummings. Improvement in behavioural
          symptoms in patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease by
          memantine: a pooled data analysis. International Journal of
          Geriatric Psychiatry, 2007, page 7.
     (4)  S. Gauthier, H. Loft, and J. Cummings. Improvement in behavioural
          symptoms in patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease by
          memantine: a pooled data analysis. International Journal of
          Geriatric Psychiatry, 2007, page 7.
     (5)  S. Gauthier, H. Loft, and J. Cummings. Improvement in behavioural
          symptoms in patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease by
          memantine: a pooled data analysis. International Journal of
          Geriatric Psychiatry, 2007, page 1.
     (6)  S. Gauthier, H. Loft, and J. Cummings. Improvement in behavioural
          symptoms in patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease by
          memantine: a pooled data analysis. International Journal of
          Geriatric Psychiatry, 2007, page 1.
     (7)  S. Gauthier, H. Loft, and J. Cummings. Improvement in behavioural
          symptoms in patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease by
          memantine: a pooled data analysis. International Journal of
          Geriatric Psychiatry, 2007, page 8.
     (8)  Alzheimer Society of Canada Statistics. Website accessed at
          http://www.alzheimer.ca/english/disease/stats-people.htm
     (9)  Alzheimer Society of Canada Statistics. Website accessed at
          http://www.alzheimer.ca/english/disease/stats-people.htm
     (10) Alzheimer Society of Canada Statistics. Website accessed at
          http://www.alzheimer.ca/english/disease/stats-caregiving.htm
     >>   -30- /For further information: Jean Proulx Director, Scientific Affairs
Lundbeck Canada Inc., (514) 844-8515 x 263; Roch Landriault, NATIONAL
PharmaCom-MONTREAL, (514) 843-2345, rlandriault@national.ca; Jennifer Acheson,
NATIONAL PharmaCom-TORONTO, (416) 848-1708, jacheson@national.ca/
 

Posted: February 2008

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