Alzheimer’s Treatment

Alzheimer’s treatment is a major concern, as the United States population is gradually getting older. The incidence of Alzheimer’s is expected to quadruple during the next 50 years which means one in every 45 Americans will be affected.

Since there is still no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, this is a major unknown as people who suffer from this hideous disease gradually lose all of their memory and any ability to function at all. There is still research that is ongoing as scientists attempt to understand how the brain literally loses its ability to have any cognitive function at all during the progress of the disease.

Alzheimer's treatment

There are, however, treatments that are available that have been helpful in allowing patients to function at more advanced levels for longer periods of time. There are a number of different therapies to take care of different problems associated with the disease. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s change over time, so doctors need strategies that help them to change and adjust therapies and new developments occur.

Medications For Alzheimer’s Disease

The memory loss that is caused by Alzheimer’s is treated with several different varieties of drugs that treat behavioral changes, memory loss, problems with sleep, and other symptoms of the disease. These drugs don’t cure the disease, but they do slow down the progress of the disease for a few months to several years. The one difficulty is that all of these medications have side effects which are very pronounced in older patients.

There are four medications in two separate classes of approved drugs for Alzheimer’s.

Cholinesterase inhibitors assist in the regulation of some of the cognitive Alzheimer’s symptoms. They help to prevent the breakdown of a chemical messenger in the brain, and this is vital for memory and attention span.

There are other medications in the Cholinesterase family that make it easier on the patient, as they basically slow down the progress of the disease. They are classified as to how far the disease has advanced from mild, to moderate to severe, and is administered by the doctor based upon each individual situation.

The side effects of the cholinesterase inhibitors are nausea, vomiting, weight loss, diarrhea, and dizziness.

Another drug, Memantine works by regulating the chemical messenger in the brain called glutamate. Side effects are headache, dizziness, and confusion, nausea, constipation, and agitation.

These drugs work differently for different people and a person should take what works the best for them.

Sometimes it is helpful to take drugs that affect the behavioral part of the equation and psychiatric symptoms that are sometimes associated with the disease.

Some of the drugs that apply here would be antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft and similar medications.

Anti-anxiety drugs such as lorazepam, serax, and similar drugs can be used.

For hallucinations and delusions, aggression and agitation, Haldol, Aripiprazole, and Zyprexa are used.

It is important that all of these medications be strictly supervised by a doctor at all times as overuse can be dangerous and some have increased risk of death in some situations with older patients.

Alzheimer’s is a very difficult disease for everyone close to the patient because it is so long and drawn out, and becomes more and more unmanageable as the disease progresses to the point where the patient has to be institutionalized or have 24 hour, round the clock care.

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