Researchers at the University of Leeds in Great Britain have discovered that a drug commonly used to treat epilepsy could help clear the plaques in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease. These plaques are known to lead to the progressive death of nerve cells in the brain linked to many forms of dementia.
The anti-seizure drug Epilim, consisting of Sodium valproate, has been shown by scientists at this British university to reactivate the body’s own defences against a small protein called amyloid beta peptide. This is the main component of the brain plaque characteristic in Alzheimers.
Lead researcher Professor Tony Turner from the University’s Faculty of Biological Sciences. says “The fact that we’ve been able to show that a well-established, safe and relatively inexpensive drug could help treat Alzheimer’s is an extremely exciting development. We hope colleagues will be able to progress this research with clinical trials in the near future.”
Sodium valproate has been used for many years to suppress epileptic seizures and the many sufferers of epilepsy have been taking the drug for decades with few side effects. The development of Alzheimer’s, on the other hand, is widely believed to be caused by the gradual accumulation in the brain of amyloid-beta peptide which is toxic to nerve cells. This is thought to be caused by a key enzyme called neprilysin (NEP) gradually switching off in later life. The epilepsy drug was found to stimulate the production of neprilysin.
Personally, after being an Alzheimers caregiver and experiencing the anguish of this disease on the patient and family, I'd be making a beeline straight to Mexico and the pharmacies that are plentiful on that side of the border, as trying to get a prescription from a US doctor for something this far off-label could be a nightmare. I don't know what Canada is like, but Mexican pharmacies do not ask for prescriptions.