The Learning That You Have Alzheimer's Disease can be devastating. Working with your health team can help you find the best strategies to manage your symptoms and prolong your independence.
Alzheimer's medicines could be a strategy that helps you temporarily manage memory loss, thinking and thinking problems and everyday life. Unfortunately, Alzheimer's medicines do not work in all people and they can not cure the disease or stop the progression of the disease. Over time, their effects diminish.
Research into more effective Alzheimer's drugs continues. If you can not take the approved medications or are not working for you, ask your doctor if you may be eligible for a clinical trial.
Role of Current Alzheimer's Medications
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two types of medications specifically for the treatment of Alzheimer's symptoms:
- cholinesterase inhibitors
are approved for certain Alzheimer's stages. These stages are mild, moderate, and severe Fatal – based on ratings that assess memory, time and place awareness, and reasoning and reasoning.
However, physicians may prescribe Alzheimer's medications for stages other than FDA-approved stages. The stages of Alzheimer's disease are not accurate, individual drug responses vary, and treatment options are limited.
If your doctor prescribes medication as part of your Alzheimer's care plan, you should be aware of the potential benefits and risks of the drug for your situation. 19659013] Not approved for mild cognitive impairment (MCI). This disease, which causes minor changes in memory and thinking, may be a transitional state between normal age-related memory changes and Alzheimer's disease. Many people with MCI – but not all – eventually develop Alzheimer's or some other dementia.
Clinical studies looking at whether Alzheimer's drugs could prevent the progression of MCI to Alzheimer's disease generally showed no lasting benefit.
Diseases damage the brain by reducing the level of a chemical messenger (acetylcholine) that is important for alertness, memory, thinking, and judgment. Cholinesterase (co-lin ES-tur-ays) inhibitors increase the amount of acetylcholine available to neurons by preventing their breakdown in the brain.
Cholinesterase inhibitors can not abolish Alzheimer's disease or stop the destruction of nerve cells. These drugs eventually lose their efficacy as dwindling brain cells produce less acetylcholine as the disease progresses.
Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Start the treatment with a low dose and work with a higher dose to reduce the side effects. Taking these medicines with food can also help minimize side effects.
People with certain types of cardiac arrhythmias should not take cholinesterase inhibitors.
Three cholinesterase inhibitors are commonly prescribed:
- donepezil (Aricept) approved to treat all stages of the disease. It has been taken as a pill once a day.
- Galantamine (Razadyne) is approved for the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. It is taken once a day as a pill or twice a day as an extended release capsule.
- Rivastigmine (Exelon) is approved for mild to moderately severe Alzheimer's disease. It is a pill. There is a skin patch that can also be used to treat severe Alzheimer's disease. Memantine (Namenda) is approved by the FDA for the treatment of moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease. It works by regulating the activity of glutamate, a chemical messenger heavily involved in brain function – including learning and memory. It is taken as a pill or syrup. Common side effects include dizziness, headache, confusion and arousal.
The FDA has also approved a combination of Donepezil and Memantine (Namzaric), which is used as a capsule. Side effects include headache, dizziness, nausea and diarrhea.
When do you need to stop taking Alzheimer's medication?
Because Alzheimer's disease is a progressive disease, your symptoms and care plan will change over time. If you are taking an Alzheimer's medication, ongoing review of your care plan will involve working with your doctor to decide how long to take your medication.
Because the effects of Alzheimer's medication are usually low, it can be difficult to say when the drugs work. However, you may not know if your symptoms could be more severe without your medication.
Talk to your doctor before stopping an Alzheimer's drug and tell your doctor if your condition is getting worse after you stop.
Updated: 2017 -07-15
Release date: 2002-01-03