Tacrine or THA (tetrahydroaminoacridine) has been demonstrated in research by Dr. Mohs and by Dr. Summers to consistently improve memory in Alzheimer’s patients.
Dr. Summers has had very hopeful results treating Alzheimer’s with a combination of deprenyl and THA plus the nutrient lecithin. Deprenyl increases availability of the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and phenylethylamine, which play a critical role in motor, behavior, and cognitive functions. THA helps to preserve acetylcholine in the brain, and lecithin is a nutrient from which the body manufactures acetylcholine. Although deprenyl and THA plus lecithin work according to different mechanisms, it is believed the combination of the two is more effective in improving memory in Alzheimer’s patients.
Summers used THA plus lecithin extensively with patients with good success until July 1990, when the FDA forced him to stop his project. Unfortunately, THA is hard to obtain, and deprenyl has been approved only for treating Parkinson’s disease. As a result, research into improving this treatment is slow, and approval doesn’t look likely, which has lead to an outcry by Summers and the families of Alzheimer’s sufferers. In 1991, they filed a class-action suit against the FDA. Under pressure from the lawsuit, the FDA decided to allow “expanded access” to THA under its “treatment IND program.” However, Saul Kent, publisher of Life Extension Report, points out that the promised access is, in fact, limited by many restrictions. As an alternative, Summers’s group established an Alzheimer’s Buyer’s Club in Costa Rica.