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New Model Suggests Feared Side Effect of Alzheimer’s Drugs Is Unlikely

Posted Jun 21 2010 2:50pm

The first trial of a new model for testing Alzheimer’s treatments has reassured researchers that a promising class of drugs does not exacerbate the disease if treatment is interrupted.

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Merck & Co. Inc studied the effects of a class of drugs known as gamma secretase inhibitors. Researchers had worried that these drugs might cause a build-up of proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease and that this build-up could be unleashed in a surge when patients went off the medications. But the new study suggests that they do not.

“This is important because it eases some concerns that have been raised about this potentially useful class of medications,” says senior author Randall Bateman, MD, a Washington University neurologist who treats patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

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