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Medications to Treat Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia among older people and initially affects the areas of the brain which control thought, memory and language (Alzheimer's, 2005). The disease usually begins after age 60, and the risk increases with increasing age, although it may occur at an earlier age. It is estimated that roughly five percent of men and women aged between 65 and 74 have Alzheimer's, and almost half of those aged 85 or greater. However, Alzheimer';s is not considered a normal part of the aging process.

Several factors are believed to combine to cause Alzheimer's and it affects each person differently (Alzheimer's, 2005). There is a genetic component in that a family history poses an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's and people with a specific form of the gene coding for apolipoprotein E (ApoE) also have an increased susceptibility. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and low levels of folate. There is also increasing evidence that physical, mental and social activities are protective factors against developing Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease is a slowly progressive disease, and patients usually survive an average of 8 to 10 years from the time they are diagnosed, though they may survive as long as 20 years (Alzheimer's, 2005). Although Alzheimer's disease cannot be cured, some people in the early and middle stages of the disease can be helped by the drugs tacrine (Cognex), donepezil (Aricept), rivestigmine (Exelon) or galantamine (Razadyne, also known as Reminyl). These drugs may prevent the symptoms from worsening for a while. Mermantine (Narmenda) has been approved for the treatment of moderate Alzheimer's disease though its effects are limited. A variety of medications can be used to treat the many symptoms of Alzheimer's disease such as sleeplessness, agitation, anxiety, depression and wandering. By ameliorating these symptoms, these med...

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Medications to Treat Alzheimer's Disease. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 11:10, April 21, 2019, from