An article from Reuters Health titled, "Vitamin E, anti-inflammatories show benefit in Alzheimer's disease," points out the results of clinical data suggesting that treating Alzheimer's patients with vitamin E and anti-inflammatory drugs, along with a cholinesterase inhibitor, can slow Alzheimer's induced decline.
The data was gathered from 540 patients who were receiving standard treatment with a cholinesterase inhibitor such as Aricept, Exelon or Razadyne. According to the article, a percentage of the Alzheimer's patients took, in addition to the cholinesterase inhibitor, vitamin E but no anti-inflammatory, an anti-inflammatory but no vitamin E, both vitamin E and an anti-inflammatory or neither one.
The patients were then tested every six months for cognitive levels and their ability to carry out activities of daily living. While the slowing of decline was small, it was noticeable with vitamin E alone and an anti-inflammatory drug alone. However, with the combination of vitamin E, an anti-inflammatory drug and a cholinesterase inhibitor, "...there appeared to be an addictive effect in terms of slowing overall decline."
It appears from this data that more studies will be done with this combination. There are risks with everything, so the benefits offsetting the risks will be studied, along with overall effects.
It appears to me that, once again, we are seeing benefits from vitamin E and anti-inflammatory drugs - both inexpensive and easily available, along with more complicated Alzheimer specific prescription drugs.
I find this encouraging because, when it comes to reading or hearing about study results, there is often a certain amount of pain involved for those who are already diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Most studies are touting the effects of a drug that may be a decade away from getting approval for use. Thus, it truly delights me when data like that appearing in this Reuter's article show results with substances already available.
Obviously, people need to work with their doctors when they add any kind of treatment, but it seems possible that some doctors may take a "can't hurt, might help" attitude toward adding extra Vitamin E and an anti-inflammatory drug to the cocktail already taken by some people with AD. The combination of a readily available vitamin and two available drugs is an example of good news that may help some people right now.
Published On: May 17, 2009