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Quite often family members are prescribed medications when they are diagnosed with Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, but are patients and caregivers given explanations about how to judge if the Alzheimer’s medications are working or if they are worth continuing? This is very helpful to know, especially if finances or medication costs are of a concern.

Here is a list of some FDA Approved medications to treat Dementia:

Cholinesterase Inhibitors (These help increase amounts of neurotransmitter acetylcholine to the brain. This helps the neurons function well). This medication is used in “Mild to Moderate” stages of Alzheimer’s

  • Donepezil (brand name Aricept)
  • Rivastigmine (brand name Exelon)
  • Galantamine (brand name Razadyne)

Memantine (Experts would consider this to be a 2nd category dementia treatment drug for “Moderate to Severe” Alzheimer’s Disease. It is considered a “neuro-protective” drug and potentially a disease-modifying treatment).

  • Memantine (brand name Namenda)
  • Memantine is an “N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist.”

Some Side Effects of the These Medications:

For Cholinesterase inhibitors:

  • The most common side-effects are gastrointestinal which can include nausea, diarrhea, and sometimes vomiting. Approximately 20% of people will be affected by these side effects.
  • It helps to start with a small dose and gradually increase. Rivastigmine is also available in a patch prescription, which often tends to cause less stomach upset.
  • In the oral prescriptions, Donepezil tends to cause fewer side-effects than Rivastigmine and Galantamine.
  • Some people also experience dizziness, a slowed heart rate, headaches, or sleep changes.

For Memantine:

  • Dizziness is probably the most common side-effect.
  • Some people seem to experience a worsened confused or even hallucinations.
  • Memantine generally seems to cause fewer side-effects than Cholinesterase inhibitors do.

It is always best to consult with your medical expert to determine the best course of action when using any medication and definitely before altering or stopping any medication.

See original article here.

This article is intended for informational purposes only. Please 
consult your health practitioner about any symptoms or medication 
concerns.

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