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A Skin Patch for Alzheimer’s Disease?

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One biopharmaceutical company has finished clinical trials for its new transdermal skin patch for Alzheimer’s disease, and the results show similarities to the widely used oral version of the drug.

Adlarity, the new skin patch for Alzheimer’s disease, is a form of donepezil and is marketed as an alternative to oral medication. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the skin patch earlier this year, while the pill form has been in use since the 1990s, says Seasons’ recent article entitled “Trial results show promise for new Alzheimer’s skin patch.”

The skin patch for Alzheimer’s disease, according to a statement from Corium, the drug’s Michigan-based manufacturer, showed an equal daily exposure of donepezil with the weekly application as a standard daily pill. This implies patients can get the same level of treatment with the weekly patch application as they could take the oral medication daily.

Corium also touts the gastrointestinal benefits of not needing to take the daily pill and claims a “favorable overall gastrointestinal side effect profile” with this skin patch for Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Pierre N. Tariot, MD, director of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, said the results show the patch could be a safe alternative to oral medication.

“The doses of the once-weekly donepezil transdermal system were equivalent to oral donepezil on a milligram-per-day basis, and the safety profile of the transdermal system formulation, including the lower overall incidence of GI side effects, support its use in treating patients with dementia of the Alzheimer’s type,” Tariot said in a statement.

Marketed as a first-of-its-kind treatment, Adlarity uses proprietary transdermal technology known as Corplex. The small-molecule technology is used in several commercially available products, notably Crest Whitestrips. Corium is looking to release Adlarity in a few months.

Two other Alzheimer’s medications may be on the way. Quince Therapeutics, formerly known as Cortexyme, is testing its COR588 oral medication, a treatment designed to block the growth of the toxic protein gingipains, a protein associated with Alzheimer’s as gum disease.

In addition, Alzheon’s ALZ-801 treatment showed promising results in an interim analysis of Phase 2 testing, lowering p-tau 181 levels in patients. P-tau 181 is a marker associated with Alzheimer’s. The oral agent has now moved on to Phase 3 testing, according to Alzheimer’s News Today.

These alternatives, including the skin patch for Alzheimer’s disease, are promising development for many.

Reference: Seasons (Aug. 18, 2022) “Trial results show promise for new Alzheimer’s skin patch”