Giving Commonly Used Muscle Relaxant Through Nose Shows Potential to Treat Neurodegenerative Diseases
Delivering the medication dantrolene through the nose rather than the mouth may help the medication penetrate the brain more effectively, potentially maximizing its therapeutic benefits in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease. In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM) at the University of Pennsylvania showed that administering dantrolene through the nose increased its brain concentration and duration in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease without causing obvious adverse side effects.
The findings represent a major step forward in addressing a question about the potential use of dantrolene—which is often used to treat patients with muscle spasms—in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Although research has shown dantrolene can inhibit or slow the progression of many neurodegenerative diseases in animal models, the medication—when given orally or intravenously—only has limited penetration into the central nervous system, hampering its effectiveness and viability as a long-term treatment option.
“We know the use of dantrolene in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease or stroke would require chronic administration,” said the study’s corresponding author Huafeng Wei, MD, PhD,an associate professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at Penn. “Rather than using high doses of the oral form, which could increase the risk of adverse side effects, we sought to test the effectiveness of the intranasal approach via pre-clinical studies in mice.”
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