Alzheimer’s disease still has no cure, but there are medicines that can temporarily help with cognitive and behavioral symptoms associated with the disease. Some of the drugs — Aricept (donepezil), Exelon (rivastigmine), and Razadyne (galantamine) — compensate for a decline in the brain messenger acetylcholine.
Another medication, Namenda (memantine), influences other neurotransmitters and can provide additional cognitive benefits.
These drugs have also been shown to help patients with related disorders, including vascular dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies.
Some patients, especially older ones, suffer from combined mood and cognitive symptoms, which may result from frustration due to cognitive losses.
However, recent research indicates that symptoms of depression may also result from buildup of amyloid plaques and tau tangles, which occur with Alzheimer’s disease.
These patients can experience improved memory with antidepressant medications.
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