Souvenaid is a drink marketed by Nutricia that is classified as medical food or dietetic food for Alzheimer’s patients who are in the early stages of this disease. This is a nutritional drink that contains a specific mix of nutrients that should be used as a supplement to the daily diet and is used under medical supervision. It is available at the pharmacy. Most health insurers no longer reimburse the drug because the effect of the drug has not been conclusively established.
Souvenaid drinking food for Alzheimer’s
- How does Souvenaid work?
- Research results
- Reimbursement by the health insurer
How does Souvenaid work?
Souvenaid is a drink that can be used in patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease to supplement their daily diet. Randomized trials have shown that it can improve the memory of these patients. It would have no effect on patients who are in a later stage of the disease. It was developed by Nutricia in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in America.
The cause of Alzheimer’s disease is still being researched. The concept of the drink is based on the assumption that a loss of synapses is one of the main causes and that this plays a major role in memory loss. There are indications in the scientific literature that people who experience this have a lack of certain nutrients. Research has shown that increasing the intake of certain nutrients can stimulate the synthesis of phospholipids and neural membranes. This form of medical nutrition is also used for other diseases.
After the drug Souvenaid was developed in laboratories, it was tested on test subjects with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. It was tested by giving some of the test subjects Souvenaid and another part a product to which no specific nutrients had been added. 225 subjects participated in the study, which was carried out in the Netherlands, among other places. After use over a period of 12 weeks, the memory of participants who used Souvenaid was found to have improved significantly when using the Wechsler Memory Scale-revised (WMS-r) standard. When the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale (ADAS-cog) was used, no significant improvements were observed.
In a second study, in which 259 subjects with mild Alzheimer’s participated over a period of 24 weeks, improvements were again seen on some scales, while on others the difference was not noticeable. So it cannot be said that Souvenaid is a remedy that is guaranteed to help. However, some patients could benefit from it, although this is also questioned by a number of scientists.
Reimbursement by the health insurer
Souvenaid falls into the category of medical food, and is therefore neither a medicine nor a food product. Initially, the drug – which costs about 4 euros per day – was reimbursed by all health insurers in the Netherlands. It was also included in the Dementia Care Standard. However, a broadcast by Tros Radar sowed quite a bit of doubt in the Netherlands about the effectiveness of the drug. For example, it is extremely dubious that the research into the drug was financed by manufacturer Nutricia.
Following the Tros Radar broadcast, research was conducted into the question of whether the drug, which is not tested by the Medicines Evaluation Board but by the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, is not wrongly eligible for reimbursement. The outcome of this investigation is that this is the case and the compensation was therefore canceled in 2013.
If you have to pay for Souvenaid yourself, it is quite expensive. If you are afraid that the patient does not like Souvenaid or refuses to drink it for other reasons, you might try Nutridrink first. This is a product that is very similar to Souvenaid in taste and substance, but it is a lot cheaper.
Souvenaid contains the following ingredients: water, dextrin maltose, sugar, fish oil, milk proteins, flavoring (vanilla or strawberry), disodium salt of uridine 5-monophosphate, choline chloride, acidity regulator (citric acid). Stabilizers (microcrystalline cellulose, sodium carboxymethylcellulose) potassium citrate, soy lecithin, calcium hydroxide, sodium l-ascorbate, DL-a-tocopheryl lactate, magnesium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, sodium chloride, sodium selenite, iron lactate, sodium citrate, color (curcumin or carminic acid), peteroylmonoglutamic acid, cyanocobalamin, zinc sulfate, retinyl acetate nicotinamide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, copper gluconate, manganese sulfate, chromium chloride, calcium D-pantothenate, D-biotin, cholecalciferol, thiamine hydrochloride, sodium molybdate, riboflavin, potassium iodide and phylloquinone.