Nov 20, 2012

What is Axona?

Axona has been shown to have a positive effect on memory and thinking skills in a specific group of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's Disease (depends on the person’s genetics).

By Richard Isaacson

What is Axona?

What is Axona?

Axona is a new therapy for Alzheimer's disease. It is classified as a “medical food” and is supplied as a powder that is mixed with a liquid and consumed after a big meal (breakfast or lunch) once daily.

Axona is only available with a prescription and must be used under the supervision of a physician. 

Since this is a relatively new product, some patients may have difficulty finding a doctor who is familiar with it.

If a patient has difficulty finding a prescriber, there is a Find a Doctor link on the Axona website.

Subscribe to the Alzheimer's Reading Room

How does it interact with the brain?

Axona contains ingredients that can improve brain energy by providing a new type of “fuel” for the brain. Research has shown that the brains of patients with AD have a limited ability to use the brain’s usual fuel source (which is sugar, or glucose).

The active ingredient in Axona can provide an alternative energy source called ketone bodies, which may improve memory and thinking skills.

Which Alzheimer's and dementia patients are ideally suited for Axona?

Axona has been shown to have a positive effect on memory and thinking skills in a specific group of patients with mild to moderate AD (depends on the person’s genetics).

In my clinical experience, some patients may respond within the first several weeks, although past research showed positive effects after three months.

In my clinic, I suggest that my patients engage in a brain-stimulating activity about two hours after drinking Axona. By this time, Axona has traveled to the brain and may give the brain more “fuel” to participate in activities.

I have one caregiver who takes her husband to the movies and another caregiver who listens to a music activity and educational program on CD with his wife. Social interaction with family or friends is also a great option.

It is important to start Axona slowly so that the body can get familiar with its ingredients.

In my clinical practice, I suggest either starting with the sample kit (available in some physician offices) or on Day 1 and 2, I suggest starting with one tablespoon from 40 gram packet, then increase on Day 3 and 4 to two tablespoons, then increase on Day 5 and 6 to three tablespoons, then increase to one full packet.

To prepare Axona, I tell my patients to first pour 6-8 oz of water, Boost, skim milk or other liquid into a shaker cup (select one with agitator ball if available) and shake/blend to assure tolerability.

For the first few weeks, they should drink it after breakfast or lunch (whichever meal is larger) and sip slowly over 20-30 minutes.

Richard Isaacson
Richard S. Isaacson, MD serves as Vice-Chair of Education and Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He is the author of the new book The Alzheimer's Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach for Memory Loss Prevention, and Treatment and Alzheimer's Treatment Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient & Family Guide (in English/Spanish).

Related content.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room