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Pictured (l.-r.) Mary Ann Malack-Ragona, Executive Director and CEO of Alzheimer’s Disease Resources Center, Inc.; Irving H. Gomolin, Chief, Division of Geriatric Medicine at Winthrop; and Linda Martinez, LCSW, Department of Geriatrics at Winthrop.

Representatives from the Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center visited Winthrop on June 26, 2014 to present a $3,000 check to Irving H. Gomolin, Chief, Division of Geriatric Medicine at Winthrop. The grant will assist Dr. Gomolin’s research on how the removal of Namenda from the marketplace and substitution with an extended release formulation will impact the blood levels of patients with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia.

Namenda (also known as memantine) is an oral medication used to treat moderate to severe dementia related to Alzheimer’s Disease. While it does not cure the disease, it may improve memory, awareness and the ability to perform daily functions. Namenda works by blocking the action of glutamate, a natural substance in the brain that is believed to be linked to symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease. The standard tablet formulation of the drug is being removed from the marketplace in August 2014 without any available generic versions in the U.S. because patent rights to the drug do not expire until 2015. Instead, Alzheimer’s patients can be switched to an extended release formulation of memantine.

In this study, Dr. Gomolin, in collaboration with his research colleagues, Allison Reiss, MD, Head, Inflammation Section, and Morgan Peltier, PhD, Lead Scientist, Women's and Children’s Health Section, will measure whether the switch from the standard tablets to the extended release formulation will result in important changes in blood concentrations of this medication among patients with Alzheimer’s dementia.

“The research funds offer support to show how the pharmacologic change will affect patients following the drug manufacturer’s decision to limit the various memantine formulations currently available,” said Dr. Gomolin. “It also helps provide the opportunity to partner with local nursing homes who care for patients with Alzheimer’s Disease.”

The grant came from part of an anonymous donation that ADRC recently received. This was the first research study the organization has funded.

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