Main Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease

The late awareness of the Alzheimer’s disease’s early stage symptoms can lead to worse condition more quickly. Therefore, although there is no cure for the disease, it is advisable to get medication as fast as possible when the symptoms appear. Early medication is able to help reduce the symptoms temporarily or slow its progression.

Here are the main treatments available for Alzheimer’s disease:

  1. Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) Inhibitors

Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors medicine is used to escalate the levels of acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is a substance that works to ease communication between nerve cells. You can get prescription of Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors from neurologists or psychiatrists only.

The example of Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) medicines are rivastigmine, donepezil and galantamine. These medicines are given to people who are in the mild to Alzheimer’s disease. In some condition, these medicines also prescribed by specialists for severe stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Some people may experience side effects from consuming this medicine. Common side effects are vomiting, nausea or loss of appetite. If the side effects don’t get better in 2 weeks, you should consult with the specialists.

  1. Memantine

Memantine is used to block the effect of glutamate in the brain cells, which can moderate the severe symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Glutamate is chemical substance that has so many receptors in the brain cell. The excessive amount of glutamate can increase the activity of receptors in the brain cells which lead to fatality of brain cells.

cognitive decline worsens with memantine
cognitive decline worsens with memantine

Memantine is prescribed for people who cannot tolerate AChE inhibitors. Sometimes, specialists also prescribed memantine for Alzheimer’s disease patients who have severe symptoms and already take AChE inhibitors. In several cases, memantine can cause temporary side effects such as constipation, headaches and dizziness.

  1. Medications for Challenging Behavior

Many Alzheimer’s disease patients develop the condition which is known as BPSD (behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia). People with BPSD show symptoms such as anxiety, aggression, increased agitation, delusions, wandering and hallucinations. These challenging behaviors are very distressing for the patients and their care takers.

In order to treat BPSD, psychiatrists may prescribe medicine such as haloperidol, risperidone, or antipsychotic medicines. These medications are prescribed for people who show extreme distress and persistent aggression. Since risperidone can cause harm and serious side effects, it only prescribes with the lowest dose possible.

If anxiety is caused by depression, specialists may prescribe antidepressants. In certain condition where other treatments don’t help, haloperidol is prescribed by consultant psychiatrist.

  1. Therapies

The usage of medicines, treatments such as therapies can also be given to help reduce the symptoms. Cognitive stimulation therapy and cognitive rehabilitation are several type of therapies that are given to help people with Alzheimer’s disease in improving memory and cognitive abilities.

To help people with Alzheimer’s disease remember their past life, reminiscence and life story work therapy can be given by trained professional and care taker. This therapy involves activities of talking or seeing things that can help people remember their life. It involves compilation of photos, notes or music collections. Research shows that this activity can help in improving mood.