Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 22 March 2021
Table of contents
Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease
There is actually no treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. There are no therapies that will stop or reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, which include memory loss and difficulties with learning, judgement, communication, and everyday life.
However, certain drugs can help relieve some of the effects of certain patients. They will help the brain function better for longer and delay the progression of the disorder. It’s important to consult with your doctor regarding which choice is better for you.
How to Choose a Treatment
Your doctor will choose the right medicine for you depending on a few factors, including:
What Medications Can Help?
Some medications prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a brain chemical that is essential for memory and learning. For around half of those that take them, they may slow the rate at which symptoms worsen. The effect is only transient, lasting around 6 to 12 months on average. Diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, weakness, insomnia, lack of appetite, and weight loss are all typical side effects of these drugs. Donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Razadyne), and rivastigmine are three such medicines (Exelon).
Doctors may also administer medications to treat depression, insomnia, and behavioral issues including agitation and aggression that occur as a result of the condition.
In clinical trials, scientists are searching for potential Alzheimer’s therapies. These trials look for experimental medications and see how they can either delay the progression of the disorder or reduce memory issues or other symptoms. They’re still searching for alternate alternatives of medications, such as an Alzheimer’s vaccine.
Many people believed that supplements like vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, coral calcium, ginkgo biloba, and huperzine A can help with the disease. However, there is no proof that they have any effect so far. Studies on omega-3 fatty acids have produced contradictory findings, and scientists are trying to study their effects on Alzheimer’s disease.
Scientists are also searching for strategies to diagnose Alzheimer’s disorder early, before symptoms arise, meaning that patients may start treatment earlier.
Referenced on 2.3.2021:
- Alzheimer’s Association: “Standard Treatments;” “FDA-Approved Treatments for Alzheimer’s;” and “Alternative Treatments.”
- American Academy of Neurology Guideline Summary for Patients and their Families: “Alzheimer’s Disease.”
- Alzheimer’s Disease Education & Referral Center: “Treatment.
- Dysken, M. Journal of the American Medical Association, Jan. 2014.