Novel pharmacologic approaches to the treatment of senile dementia of the Alzheimer's type (SDAT)
The authors believe that the magnitude of suffering associated with Alzheimer's disease justifies the search for rational therapies in not entirely conventional pharmacologic areas. Three such areas, namely opioid antagonist treatment, adrenergic agonist treatment, and treatment with substances conventionally classified as anticonvulsants, have been discussed. These approaches are not as distinct as they might appear at first glance. For example, as pointed out earlier in this paper, naloxone may have adrenergic effects, as well as GABAergic properties. Also, the effects of naloxone may be related to its effects on brain electrical activity. Conversely, valproate has long been postulated to have GABAmimetic properties, as well as anticonvulsant properties. Pursuit of these hypothesized directions in our laboratory has resulted in observed therapeutic effects for the opiate antagonist naloxone in both open and double-blind trials and preliminary encouraging results with a noradrenergic agonist compound. Trials with so-called 'anti-convulsant' compounds are being started.