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Another potential Alzheimer's medication is a bust

March 3, 2010 |  3:08 pm

Pfizer I'm starting to sound like a broken record. Yet another investigational medication to treat Alzheimer's disease has failed. The bad news regarding the drug Dimebon was announced Wednesday in a statement from Pfizer and Medivation, the two pharmaceutical companies developing the product. This marks another in a long string of drug trials for the disease that have turned up empty, as I reported in 2008.

Dimebon is an antihistamine that has been used for decades in Russia. A clinical trial in that country suggested that the drug improved cognition in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. The medication then moved to the phase-3 CONNECTION clinical trial involving 598 patients in North America, South America and Europe with mild to moderate Alzheimer's. Patients were randomized to receive one of two different doses of Dimebon or a placebo. But this study showed no significant differences in the three groups of patients on cognitive and functioning tests.

"The results from the CONNECTION study are unexpected, and we are disappointed for the Alzheimer's community," Dr. David Hung, chief executive of Medivation, said in a statement. You can read the full statement here.

More data on the study will be presented later this year at a medical meeting, Hung said.

-- Shari Roan

Photo credit: Mark Lennihan  /  Associated Press