Research Projects

Can a cannabis-derived medicine help with symptoms of agitation in dementia?

People living with dementia can experience a wide range of symptoms, affecting not only someone’s memory and thinking skills, but also their behaviour.

Approximately half of those living with dementia will experience symptoms of agitation or aggression at some point, and these can be some of the most challenging symptoms for carers.

Sativex is the first cannabis-based medicine to be licenced in the UK.

Currently there have been no studies looking at the potential benefits of Sativex for people with dementia, there are some important questions that need to be answered before large-scale studies can be done.

The team of researchers will be led by Prof Dag Aarsland, a clinician based at King’s College London.

They want to find out how feasible it is to give Savitex to people with dementia.

They will also investigate how easy it is to run a clinical trial across multiple nursing homes, which will help them to best design a larger phase III clinical trials.

Prof Dag Aarsland and his team will recruit 60 people aged 55-90 years old who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and living in care homes, and who are also showing significant symptoms of agitation or aggression.

One group will receive Sativex and the other to receive a dummy drug.

The people in the trial will take part for four weeks, and will begin the study on a low dose (two sprays a day in the evening), building up to the top dose of four sprays a day by week three.

The researchers will compare the results from those taking Sativex and those taking the dummy drug, from which they can work out how safe and well tolerated Sativex was, and whether there were any positive benefits for those taking the medicine.

This phase II clinical trial is an important stepping stone on the way to new a medicine for dementia.

What did Prof Dag Aarsland have to say about the research?

Read more about why Alzheimer's Research UK is funding this research project.

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Awarded to:
Prof Dag Aarsland

Current award:
£265,908.28

Institution:
King's College London

Dates:
1 September 2019 - 1 August 2021

Full project name:

Sativex® for the Treatment of AgitatioN in Dementia (STAND trial) - a feasibility study