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Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a complex disease. It doesn’t conform to one-size-fits-all treatments. Scientists believe a multi-prong approach, which uses different medications, can help most people. Here is a summary of the current AD medications.
The FDA ha approved four AD medications. However, they don’t affect everyone the same, and can diminishes over time.
The four medications (with some brand name examples) are:
To learn more, read about drugs for Alzheimer’s disease.
These medications control the chemicals that transmit messages between neurons called “neurotransmitters.” This helps to maintain thinking and memory, and manage some behavioral problems.
No published study has compared the four drugs. However they appear to work in similar ways. For example, they all affect the level of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Switching from one medication to another will not produce different results.
Some medications can temporarily treat, or at least ease, AD symptoms. These include antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, sleep aids, and antipsychotics. They help with sleeplessness, agitation, anxiety, anger, severe aggression, wandering, and depression.
It is essential to consult an experienced AD doctor in order to receive the maximum benefit from medication. To learn more, read about drugs for Alzheimer’s disease.
Written by: Wendy Leonard, MPH
Published on May 11, 2011
Updated on Sep 28, 2012
Medically reviewed by Jennifer Monti, MPH, MD
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