Drugs and Treatments Used to Combat Alzheimers

by : arider



Unfortunately, even though there is a huge amount of scientific research, no cure for Alzheimer's exists at present. What is available is a number of scientifically proven treatments for the disease. Patient safety is one the core parts of treatment. Risks need to be limited with reference to driving, wandering and general accidents about the home.

A second major aspect of Alzheimer patient treatment is the education of this degenerative disease and its related effects with the family involved. Both support and education can minimize the need for skilled nurses and also lower caregiver stress and burnout.

The environment of the sufferer can be modified to promote their wellbeing. Research has found that simply re-coloring plates and cups with very bright colors promotes Alzheimer's sufferers eating. Confusion can be reduced by keeping everything in a strict order.

Medicines used for Alzheimer's can be administered to try to slow the diseases progression. Cholinesterase inhibitors are one such example, used when patients suffer from mid to strong Alzheimer's dementia. This type of drug comes in many names; galantamine (Reminyl), donepezil (Aricept) and rivastigmine (Exelon). Positive effects that have been noticed are slight improvements in memory and language alongside increased ease of coping with daily chores and reduced aggressiveness.

Behavioral problems are minimized with a number of medications. A drug known as olanzapine (Zyprexa) and quetiapine (Seroquel) are frequently used for Alzheimer's sufferers who have aggressive, agitative or hallucinatory tendencies. Both are strong tranquillizers. Depression is commonly combated with the anti-depressants citalopram (Cipramil), fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Lustral). Anxiety-relieving drugs you can obtain are diazepam (Valium), oxazepam (Oxazepam) and buspirone (Buspar). Anticonvulsant drugs are carbamazepine (Tegretol) or sodium valproate (Epilim).

What has always been very important is to ensure that the patient has exhausted all other forms of non-drug treatment before drugs have started to be used. Remember that particular combinations of drugs can counteract each others effects. Also, symptoms may actually worsen with the side effects that most drugs have. The chemistry and structure of the brain changes with the progression of this disease, drugs that did work may begin to lessen their effects, or in fact become useless, after a period of time. Drugs side effects should always be asked about with your local GP, dates when they should stop being administered also discussed.

The progression of Alzheimer's has also been seen to slow when patients are given doses of 1000 IU vitamin E twice daily.