Drug makers have halted studies of an experimental Alzheimer’s Drug – dimebon – after finding the medication offered no benefit to people with mild to moderate symptoms of the disease.
Pfizer and Medivation, the companies co-developing the drug, said Tuesday they were terminating all studies of the drug, including a one-year research effort comparing it to Aricept, a commonly prescribed Alzheimer’s disease medication.
Dimebon has been sold in Russia for decades as an antihistamine for nasal congestion, leading to observations of apparent benefit in Alzheimer's disease patients. The drug was never approved or sold in the U.S.
“We are disappointed in the…results and the implications for Alzheimer’s disease patients and their caregivers,” said Dr. David Hug, president and CEO of Medivation, in a press statement. “I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the patients, their physicians and study teams involved in this trial.”
Dr. Steven Romano, a senior vice president at Pfizer, called the results “disappointing,” but added: “Pfizer remains committed to advancing the science of Alzheimer’s disease with the ultimate goal of delivering innovative and meaningful new treatment options to patients.
There is no current cure for Alzheimer’s and studies of drugs to treat the condition have been disappointing in recent years. Current treatments may slow the advance of the disease or modify the symptoms.