Dementia Patients Who Wander

Dementia is the leading cause of dependency and disability amongst older adults, placing a heavy burden on economies and families’ budgets. Wandering is one of the most dangerous dementia-related behaviors, resulting in elopement (running off secretly), injury and even death. It is estimated that up to 31% of nursing home residents and between 25% and 70% of community- dwelling older adults with dementia wander at least once.

For caregivers — many times family members — wandering can be an extremely frightening and overwhelming. Wandering represents the “tipping point” for many family caregivers, as they are more likely to report significant depression and burden — which, in turn,  can lead to the gut-wrenching decision to place a loved one in a nursing home or locked memory care unit.

Other than mechanical devices like alarms, GPS trackers, and locks or chemical restraints like sedatives (not considered acceptable practice), little else can be done to prevent or decrease wandering.

Woolsey Pharmaceuticals’ BRAVYL® (fasudil), a repurposed therapeutic, is a potent inhibitor of Rho-kinase (ROCK).

Fasudil is believed to reduce wandering behaviors of elopement and getting lost by improving blood flow in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that plays a major role in navigation, learning, and memory. Fasudil is non-sedating.

BRAVYL has been tested in a small study of dementia patients who had symptoms of wandering. The disappearance of wandering symptoms in patients was observed after the start of treatment. There was a return to the pretreatment state after discontinuation of the fasudil treatment.  The effect was replicated more than once in the patients.

The FOUND Study

(Fasudil fOr redUcing elopemeNt and spatial Disorientation)

FOUND is a phase 2a study designed to assess the effectiveness, safety, and tolerability of BRAVYL (oral fasudil) in people with dementia who have wandering behaviors of elopement and/or getting lost.  The study is actively recruiting patients now.

In addition, FOUND will assess whether BRAVYL improves wandering behaviors of excess movement and pacing, cognition, memory, neuropsychiatric symptomatology, and caregiver/nursing staff burden.

Participation will be for up to 26 weeks.  While there is a placebo-controlled period in the study, FOUND is designed to ensures that participants will receive drug for at least 12 weeks (and up to 18 weeks) for those who complete the full study.  Participants may reside at home, a group home, an assisted living unit, or in a long-term care facility.

FOUND is recruiting at approximately 12 sites in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.