New approaches to symptomatic treatments for Alzheimer's disease

Mol Neurodegener. 2021 Jan 13;16(1):2. doi: 10.1186/s13024-021-00424-9.


Background: Successful development of agents that improve cognition and behavior in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is critical to improving the lives of patients manifesting the symptoms of this progressive disorder.

Discussion: There have been no recent approvals of cognitive enhancing agents for AD. There are currently 6 cognitive enhancers in Phase 2 trials and 4 in phase 3. They represent a variety of novel mechanisms. There has been progress in developing new treatments for neuropsychiatric symptoms in AD with advances in treatment of insomnia, psychosis, apathy, and agitation in AD. There are currently 4 AD-related psychotropic agents in Phase 2 trials and 7 in Phase 3 trials. Many novel mechanisms are being explored for the treatment of cognitive and behavioral targets. Progress in trial designs, outcomes measures, and population definitions are improving trial conduct for symptomatic treatment of AD.

Conclusions: Advances in developing new agents for cognitive and behavioral symptoms of AD combined with enhanced trial methods promise to address the unmet needs of patients with AD for improved cognition and amelioration of neuropsychiatric symptoms.

Keywords: Agitation; Alzheimer’s disease; Apathy; Clinical trials; Cognition; Depression; Drug development; Neuropsychiatry; Psychosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology
  • Alzheimer Disease / therapy*
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Apathy / physiology
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Depression / therapy
  • Humans
  • Psychomotor Agitation / therapy*