‘Memory pill’ for the forgetful available soon

Over-the-counter 'memory pill' being developed

Are you always forgetting your wedding anniversary, or your best friend’s birthday? Well, soon there could be an over-the-counter ‘memory pill’ available to help you out.

The pill was originally developed to treat Alzheimer’s disease, but it could be adapted into a weaker form for wider consumption in a few years.

Two companies (Astra-Zeneca in collaboration with Targacept and Epix Pharmaceuticals) are currently working on memory drugs that have ‘cognitive-enhancing effects’ which are aimed at treating patients with age-related memory loss.

And Steven Ferris, a neurologist and former committee member of the Food and Drug Administration in the US, reckons that it will only be a matter of time before a milder version will be available as a ‘lifestyle pill.’

‘My view is that one could gain approval, provided you showed the drugs to be effective and safe,’ said Ferris. ‘It could be a huge market.’

There is some evidence that mind-improving drugs are already being taken in the UK.

Provigil, which is used to treat Narcolepsy, is taken by some students to help them stay awake, while Adderall XR and Ritalin, which is for attention deficit disorder, can be used to help promote concentration.

Barbara Sahakian, professor of clinical neuropsychology at Cambridge, said, ‘It’s hard to quantify the scale of the phenomenon but it’s definitely catching on.

‘The reality is we’re not always at our best. After being up at night looking after the kids or travelling, many people would love to have something to sharpen them up. It’s not taboo to drink Red Bull. The principle with cognition enhancers is not so different.’

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