Dementia is defined as progressive loss of brain function–thinking, remembering, managing tasks, and controlling emotions and behaviors to the extent that it affects patients’ lives. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. The rest of the list includes Lewy body dementia, frontal-temporal dementia, vascular dementia, and mixed dementia.
So far there is no cure for dementia, but treatment is available to slow it down. Medications available for treating Alzheimer’s disease are:
- Aricept (donepezil)–enzyme (cholinesterase) blocker that helps restore normal balance of molecules that help brain cells communicate, to improve memory and ability to function in mild, moderate, and severe disease.
- Exelon (rivastigmine)–used to treat mild to moderate disease by increasing acetylcholine, a molecule involved in memory, thinking, and reasoning.
- Razadyne (galantamine)–increases acetylcholine, used for mild to moderate Alzheimer’s
- Namenda (memantine)–blocks flow of certain charged particles through brain; used to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s
Donepezil, Rivastigmine, and galantamine are also used to treat Lewy body dementia
Frontal-temporal dementia is treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a kind of antidepressant. The following have shown success in some patients:
- Trazodone (desyrel) –helpful for sleep as well as antidepressant
- Celexa (citalopram)
- Paxil (paroxetine)
- Zoloft (sertraline)
Vascular dementia involves blood vessels supplying the brain, and treatment is aimed at causes such as high blood pressure, blood clots in blood vessels, high cholesterol that may contribute in blocking blood vessels, and high blood sugar (diabetes), which damages blood vessels.
Did you know? QuickMD can refill your regular dementia medications online via telemedicine—from the convenience of your home.