Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

Font Size

Epilepsy Drugs May Treat Alzheimer's

Study Shows Calcium Channel Blockers May Treat Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 29, 2009 -- A group of drugs used to treat epilepsy may also treat Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

New research shows treatment with T-type calcium channel blockers, used to treat epilepsy, protected nerve cells from the brains of mice that can be damaged by neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Researchers say there aren't any effective medications that protect brain cells from age-related damage and degeneration. If these findings hold up under further study in humans, they could lead to a new class of more effective treatments for age-related neurological diseases.

Calcium-signaling pathways play an important role in the survival of nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. As people age, this process can become disrupted and can lead to cognitive and functional decline.

Researchers say that opens up the possibility of using chemicals like calcium channel blockers that are involved in the calcium-signaling process to protect the nerve cells from death.

The study, published in Molecular Neurodegeneration, looked at the effects of treatment with calcium channel blockers on the brain cells of mice.

Researchers found neurons showed an increase in viability after treatment with the calcium channel blockers over both the long term and short term.

"Our data provides implications for the use of this family of anti-epileptic drugs in developing new treatments for neuronal injury, and for the need of further studies of the use of such drugs in age-related neurodegenerative disorders," says researcher Jianxin Bao, PhD, of Washington University in St. Louis, in a news release.

Today on WebMD

Remember your finger
When it’s more than just forgetfulness.
senior man with serious expression
Which kinds are treatable?
senior man
Common symptoms to look for.
mri scan of human brain
Can drinking red wine reverse the disease?
eating blueberries
Colored mri of brain
Close up of elderly couple holding hands
mature woman
Woman comforting ailing mother
Senior woman with serious expression