Procaine, or novocaine, is conventionally used as a local anaesthetic. However, it has also been touted as an anti-ageing drug that could improve, or even reverse, the symptoms of dementia. Procaine preparations are available in more than 70 countries and it has been estimated that more than 100 million people might use them. They are officially banned in the U.S. but people can buy them over the Internet. A review of studies into the effectiveness of procaine in treating cognitive impairment has found that 'there is no evidence that it does anything at all and even some evidence that it is toxic'. Side effects can include restlessness, dizziness, migraines and systemic lupus erythematosus, a disease in which a person's immune system attacks itself.
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