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Can Alzheimer’s Disease be Treated?

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Although the modes of progression of Alzheimer’s disease along with the specific changes that occur in the cells and tissues within the brain and associated structures have been well- identified, the presently available medications are neither able to cure the disorder nor are able to prevent its progression. All these medications can only improve some of the symptoms associated with the disorder.1

The commonly advised medications during the initial stages of Alzheimer’s disease belong to the groups known as Donepezil, Rivastigmine and Tacrine. The dosage and frequency of these medications are advised by the doctor based on the severity of the symptoms.

Additionally, the doctor may advise the caregivers to follow certain simple steps to prevent the affected individuals to cope in a better way with the situation and prevent them from hurting themselves.

These include:

  • Helping the individual to maintain a simple predictable routine for eating, exercising and sleeping times.
  • Allow the individual to dress on their own.
  • Ensure that any other illnesses are appropriately treated.
  • Avoid sharp edged furniture, slippery floors.
  • Install bars that can be grabbed while using the toilet or taking bath.
  • Distract or redirect the individual when he is in some problematic situation
  • Decrease glare from the windows or mirrors, loud music.
  • Enrol the individual in day care programs designed specifically for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.

Other drugs that are advised in advanced stages of the disorder include: antipsychotic agents, mood-stabilizing (antiagitation) drugs, anxiolytic drugs and antidepressant drugs. The requirements of other specific treatments are decided by the doctor based on the severity of the disorder.2

The family members and caregivers play a vital role in helping the individual to cope with the disorder.

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1. Klafki HW, Staufenbiel M, et al. Therapeutic approaches to Alzheimer's disease. Brain. 2006; 129(11): 2840–2855.

2. Cummings JL, Frank JC, Cherry D, Kohatsu ND, Kemp B, Hewett L, et al. Guidelines for Managing Alzheimer's Disease: Part II. Treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2002; 65(12): 2525–2534.

Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: March 19, 2015

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