Drug Therapy In Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s Dementia is a nerve degenerating disease which affects the memory and the ability for the afflicted patient to perform basic and higher level functions of daily living as the disease progresses. Medications have been developed to try and slow down the progression of the decline in Alzheimer’s Dementia.
The current medications on the market are aimed at providing “short term” improvement. These include Cognex (Tacrine) and Aricept (Donepezil). These medications work by increasing natural hormone transmitters in the area of the brain that is affected to try to slow its progression. Aricept is not broken down in the same way as Cognex and, therefore, blood testing to follow liver function is not necessary. In addition, Aricept may be given once daily where Cognex requires four times a day administration.
Other agents are being experimentally tested that do not work through mechanism. These have included anti-inflammatory drugs, calcium channel blockers, anti-oxidants and nerve growth factors. All of these are still in the experimental stages and are not available.
Other medications are available for the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Dementia such as agitation, paranoid delusions, hallucination and anxiety. These medications are not used with the intention of slowing down the disease process itself, but rather than managing these symptoms which can be stressful for the caregiver.
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