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Good or Bad? New Study Reveals Alzheimer’s Patients Use Analgesics for Pain Management

Nov 30, 2016 07:53 AM EST

A new research from the University of Eastern Finland has found that roughly one-third of people suffering from the memory-robbing disease, Alzheimer's, use prescription medicines for pain management after they're diagnosed.

Published in the European Journal of Pain, the study is a part of the MEDALZ cohort. Researchers used data from 67,215 persons with Alzheimer's disease diagnosed during 2005 to 2011 and comparison persons with the same age, gender, and region of residence without the disease.

Researchers noted that people with Alzheimer's go for different types of medications compared to those without the disease, Eureka Alert reports. Results show that 35 percent of those with Alzheimer's disease and 34 percent of those without used a prescription analgesic in the first six months after the disease diagnosis. However, Alzheimer's patients take paracetamol more often and use less of anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, and mild opioids for their pain.

In a press release sent by the University of Eastern Finland to Science Daily, the authors said, "According to the study, persons with Alzheimer's disease are commonly treated with paracetamol, which is the preferred first-line analgesic for older people. The treatment of pain among older adults and persons with cognitive disorders requires regular assessment of pain and the benefits and risks of used analgesics."

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. It usually starts with mild symptoms, says, simple memory lapses, but it gets worse over time, to the point where it starts affecting the person's quality of life.

Currently, there is no known cure for Alzheimer's disease, although there are a number of potential drug treatments prescribed by physicians that claim to slow down the progression of the disease.

Recently, pharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly and Co., announced that its Alzheimer's cure, solanezumab, failed its Phase III clinical trial, dubbed as the Expedition 3. The said trial was launched back in 2013 and had 2,100 patients clinically diagnosed with mild dementia due to Alzheimer's as participants.

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