Alzheimer’s Drug May Help Treat Traumatic Brain Injury

Alzheimer’s Drug May Help Treat Traumatic Brain Injury

The drug memantine has been used in the treatment of mild Alzheimer’s Disease.  Unfortunately the effectiveness of this treatment has not shown to improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s.   Researchers have discovered that, memantine, a medicine designed to help with Alzheimer’s is actually helpful in treating traumatic brain injury. One of the biggest dangers with brain injuries is that excess bleeding in the brain which can cause further trauma and damage. So the challenge has been to limit brain bleeding for patients.

The number of persons with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in industrialized nations is huge.  TBI is the number one cause of long term disability in the world.  10 million people annually across the world.  Road accidents are the number one cause of Traumatic Brain Injury.

The administration of memantine when started quickly after moderate TBI resulted in a significant reduction of the neuronal damage marker neuron-specific enolase (NSE).  Doctors are finding the use of memantine as a mechanism to constrict blood vessels and reduce bleeding in the brain. Within just a few days of use, bleeding was reduced in patients to acceptable levels. This can allow the brain time to heal.

More research is needed, but so far memantine is showing promise for treating TBI.  This study only looked at the short term effects of memantine on moderate traumatic brain injury and the sample size was very small.  More studies are needed to validate the findings.  It will also be important to study the long term outcomes from using memantine and trial sizes need to be expanded.

Key Points:

  • 1An alternative use for the drug Memantine is being studied as it has been found to help patients recover from traumatic brain injury.
  • 2Few patients suffering from traumatic brain injury have received benefits from any form of medication until Memantine was found to improve neuronal damage caused by the injury.
  • 3Patients with moderate traumatic brain injury who were given Memantine showed improvement in their levels of consciousness just a few days after beginning treatment.

Patients with moderate TBI who received memantine had significantly reduced blood levels of NSE by day 7 and marked improvements in their GCS scores on day 3 of the study.

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