Krista Lanctot, PhD: Addressing Alzheimer Disease Agitation

September 25, 2018

The psychiatry and pharmacology professor at the University of Toronto and senior scientist at Sunnybrook Research Institute spoke about the use of cannabinoids to treat agitation in Alzheimer.

“Instead of first looking at a whole mixture of a whole bunch of molecules, we [need] to understand the system better.”

Research into the possible use of cannabinoids for myriad conditions in the neurology space has blossomed recently. One trial, conducted by Krista Lanctôt, PhD, and colleagues, explored the use of nabilone for symptoms of agitation Alzheimer disease, was very successful.

To discuss this pathway and its potential for Alzheimer, the psychiatry and pharmacology professor at the University of Toronto, and senior scientist at Sunnybrook Research Institute sat with NeurologyLive at the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation’s 19th Annual Meeting in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Lanctôt spoke about how the increasing availability and popularity of medicinal marijuana in Canada, as well as the United States, will result in a parallel increase in research surrounding it. For quite some time, she noted, the medicines for agitation have been plagued by safety and efficacy issues, making these new developments very exciting.

Additionally, the newly published International Psychogeriatric Association criteria for agitation have been more or less accepted by the FDA, helping to better define the symptom. This, she said, could also aid improvements in its treatment.