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Diuretic Drug May Become Alzheimer’s Treatment

A study released by the National Institute on Aging in October indicates that a commonly used oral diuretic may also be a treatment for people who have a genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Although more research is needed, elderly patients in nursing homes and memory care facilities in Florida may benefit from this treatment.

Study identified five potential drugs

The study analyzed over 1,200 FDA-approved drugs that addressed the genetic expression of the apolipoprotein E gene that produces late-onset Alzheimer’s, which often requires patients to enter nursing homes and assisted living facilities as the disease progresses. Five drugs emerged as possible candidates to treat Alzheimer’s as they contained a gene expression signature that could neutralize the disease. The leading candidate was bumetanide, a commonly prescribed diuretic pill often used to treat fluid retention caused by heart, kidney, and liver disease.

Researchers tested their theory in mice and in human patients who were already taking bumetanide. The analysis indicated that patients aged 65 and over with a genetic risk for Alzheimer’s who took the diuretic had a 35% to 75% lower chance of developing the disease than those who did not. This promising analysis indicates that a proof-of-concept trial should be conducted with elderly patients to determine if bumetanide should be used as one of the drugs to treat the memory-robbing disease.

What if your parent already takes bumetanide?

If your mother or father has already been prescribed bumetanide to relieve excess fluid from heart, kidney, or liver problems, make sure that their nursing home or memory care facility staff gives them the medication regularly. Failure to provide the correct dosage of medicine or even skipping doss altogether is a form of elder abuse and mistreatment that could result in harm to your parent.

As using this drug without the need for a diuretic is still experimental, your parent’s doctor may not be willing yet to prescribe it for Alzheimer’s. However, at some point in the near future, this drug may become available as a treatment for patients at risk for Alzheimer’s.

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