1st Sep 2011
City doctors are leading a pioneering study into a drug which could radically improve quality of life for people living with dementia.
Medical research company CPS Research, based in Glasgow, are conducting a groundbreaking clinical trial of a drug containing sleep hormone melatonin.
It is hoped the drug could drastically reduce symptoms associated with the illness.
Through the Melatonin in Alzheimer’s Project, CPS hope to recruit 50 patients to take part over a six-month period.
Any patient diagnosed with dementia and receiving treatment could be eligible.
Dr Gordon Crawford of CPS Research said: “Dementia is a shattering condition for patients, their families and friends.
“By reducing the symptoms, it is hoped that patients and carers can enjoy a better quality of life and manage the condition more effectively. In our groundwork for this project, we investigated a slow-release version of the natural compound melatonin.
“Our findings suggest participants function better during the day – possibly due to a better quality sleep pattern. “Melatonin does not currently exist as a treatment for dementia but is registered in Europe and the UK for use with elderly patients with sleeping difficulties.
“It has proven to be remarkably safe and virtually free from side effects.
“We are exploring whether its use as an add-on treatment for dementia could transform the lives of patients and carers.
“With the help of volunteers from Scotland we aim to establish whether adding melatonin to current treatments could provide a major advance in dementia management.”
Approximately 72,500 people in Scotland are living with dementia.