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Alzheimer's Medications

Also called: Alzheimer's Drugs, Alzheimer's Medicine

- Summary
- About Alzheimer's medications
- Types and differences
- Alternative remedies
- Conditions of concern
- Potential side effects
- Drug or other interactions
- Symptoms of overdose
- Pregnancy issues
- Elderly use issues
- Questions for your doctor

Reviewed By:
Andrew Biondo, D.O.


Alzheimer's medications are used to minimize or stabilize the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, nor is there any way of slowing its progress. However, some treatment options may minimize or stabilize symptoms for some patients and delay the necessity of nursing home care.

Alzheimer's disease first affects memory and other cognitive functions. Most Alzheimer's disease medications prescribed to treAlzheimer's Disease is a common form of dementia that often involves memory loss and symptoms such as loss of memory, language or motor function, are designed to maintain the levels of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which is important for brain function. Other Alzheimer's disease medications work to regulate the function of the neurotransmitter glutamate, which is also important for learning and memory.

A physician may also recommend certain medications to control behavioral or psychiatric symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease. Use of these medications should be monitored closely because people with dementia, which includes Alzheimer's patients, are more likely to experience severe side effects than most people. Medications that may be prescribed for patients with behavioral or psychiatric symptoms include:

  • Antidepressant medications to treat depression and low moods
  • Anti-anxiety medications to treat anxiety or verbally disruptive behavior
  • Antipsychotic medication to treat hallucinations, delusions or aggression

There are also a number of herbal or supplement remedies that manufacturers claim can reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Although some of these alternative remedies may help people with Alzheimer's disease, few of them have been tested sufficiently and none of them have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

People who experience or are taking medication to treat certain medical conditions (e.g., asthma, ulcers, lung or heart disease) should consult with their physician before starting a course of Alzheimer’s medications.

Side effects from Alzheimer’s medications are often mild and may include:

  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Abnormal dreams
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Tremors
  • Runny nose

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Review Date: 07-03-2007

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