Skip to comments.Alzheimer's drug 'a poison antidote'
Posted on 08/07/2006 3:02:29 PM PDT by WmShirerAdmirer
An Alzheimer's pill that helps slow the brain damage caused by the disease may also protect against the effects of nerve gases and pesticides, US researchers reported today.
They said the drug, marketed under the name Reminyl and Razadyne, completely protected guinea pigs against the nerve agents soman and sarin, as well as toxic amounts of pesticides.
They gave the animals high doses of the poisons and treated them with Reminyl, known generically as galantamine, along with atropine, often given as an antidote for organophosphate pesticides such as paraoxon.
"To our amazement, the animals treated with galantamine behaved as if they had not been exposed to these lethal agents," Dr Edson Albuquerque, chairman of the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said in a statement.
The guinea pigs, all of them male, survived with no apparent ill effects, Albuquerque said, and the galantamine protected the animals with or without atropine.
"I think maybe we have something that can protect us against bad terrorists," he said in a telephone interview, adding that the next step was to test female guinea pigs.
Dr Albuquerque said he has tested other drugs in the same class as Reminyl, and they do not have the same effects.
"The only medication currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration to prevent the catastrophic effects of nerve agent poisoning does not protect the brain," Dr Albuquerque said.
"This medication, pyridostigmine, doesn't effectively cross the blood-brain barrier."
The blood-brain barrier is made up of cells that stop certain molecules from getting into the brain.
Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr Albuquerque and colleagues at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defence and the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, both in Maryland, said their research could benefit farm workers and soldiers.
"This simple and safe antidotal therapy could be added to the arsenal of medications carried by all military members and first responders, who could easily administer it to themselves should they suspect that they've been exposed to a nerve agent," Dr Albuquerque said.
The drug is made by Britain's Shire Pharmaceuticals and licenced outside Britain to Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, a unit of Johnson and Johnson.
Well, that certainly beats the atropine needle to the heart...
A Pulp Fiction favorite..
I would just like to see a TRUE, BONA FIDE Alzheimer drug!! That would be as big a medical revolution as the Salk vaccine was.
There's enough info in that article for the Chinese to justify skipping the female hamsters and go straight to their prisons.
I think that was an adrenaline shot... still to the heart. What is it about all these neural toxin antidotes being delivered by a injection to the heart !? I guess it needs to absorb quickly to counteract the toxin... dang we really need a better way.