A pharmaceutical company in Japan will start testing a drug that could slow the decline in quality of life for patients with Down’s syndrome, according to its statement made on Monday.
The “Aricept” donepezil hydrochloride drug, which is commonly used to treat some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, will be tested by the company on people between the ages of 15 and 39 who have Down’s syndrome.
Down’s is a congenital disorder frequently characterised by diminished mental faculty and physical abnormalities, including distinctive facial features.
It is caused by a chromosome defect and is proportionately more common in people born of older mothers.
“This testing, if effective, might show that the medication could improve their condition and help improve the quality of their lives,” a spokesman for pharmaceutical company Eisai said.
It could also ease the burden on their caregivers, he added, according to the international press.
Down syndrome and Alzheimer have some common symptoms and Aricept has been prescribed for a long time for Alzheimer.
The testing will initially involve 10 hospitals across Japan, with dozens of people in the affected age group, and will continue for up to four years.