Asthma's Double Duty Drug

Zyflo could also treat Alzheimer’s disease

(RxWiki News) Known to be effective in treating asthma, Zyflo (zileuton) may have a secondary use in treating Alzheimer's disease.  A recent study showed a 50 percent reduction in plaques in the brain.

Researchers at Temple University School of Medicine tested Zyflo in mice that were genetically treated to have Alzheimer's disease. At the end of the treatment they found that Zyflo's ability to block 5-lipoxygenase, an enzyme in the brain that contols another enzyme called gamma secretase, reduced the production of amyloid beta and the subsequent build up of amyloid plaques in the brain by more than 50 percent.

dailyRx Insight:  Zyflo shows promise as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease.

Even while gamma secretase’s production of amyloid beta leads to a build-up of amyloid plaques in the brain, gamma secretase is also involved in necessary functions such as cancer prevention.  It just wouldn’t be possible to completely inhibit gamma secretase from the body.

Zyflo is able to modulate production of gamma secretase while other gamma secretase inhibitor drugs block it almost entirely. The hope is that it might be able to reduce gamma secretase enough to prevent amyloid beta production, while still retaining the protective qualities gamma secretase provides the body.

After this successful study, plans to implement a clinical trial for this already FDA approved drug are on the fast track.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia in the United States affecting approximately 5.3 million people, and the number is growing. Alzheimer’s results in memory loss, decline in cognitive functioning, and behavioral changes. Alzheimer's disease is usually diagnosed clinically from the patient history, statements from relatives, and clinical observations. There is no cure, and treatment efforts are aimed at slowing the progression of the disease and treating its symptoms. Prescription medications such as Namenda® (NMDA receptor antagonist) and Aricept® (cholinesterase inhibitor) have been shown to slow progression by altering the amounts of certain neurotransmitters in the brain to improve neuronal communication.

The study appears in The American Journal of Pathology.

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Review Date: 
March 27, 2011