Drug to treat agitation in Alzheimer’s patients approved in Canada

Health Canada has green lit a drug previously approved for schizophrenia and depression to treat symptoms of agitation in Alzheimer’s patients.

Rexulti (brexpiprazole) oral tablets manufactured by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Canada Inc. and Lundbeck Canada Inc. were issued a Notice of Compliance by the regulator, according to a company release Wednesday.

This approval was given after three 12-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, the release said.

Approximately half of all patients with Alzheimer’s dementia suffer from agitation, with behaviours such as pacing, gesturing, profanity, shouting, shoving, and hitting, Otsuka Canada said in its release.

Rexulti has been given the green light for managing agitation that is associated with dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease in patients with aggressive behaviour that is unresponsive to non-pharmacological approaches.

The drug was approved for this condition in the United States in May 2023.Dr. Sharon Cohen, who is a behavioural neurologist and the medical director of Toronto Memory Program, said there is a “huge unmet need” of vulnerable Alzheimer’s patients who suffer with agitation.

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