Dr. Tariot shares what the current available treatments for Alzheimer's disease include.
There are four commonly used FDA-approved treatments for Alzheimer’s disease right now, and actually it's important that people know there are 400 in or approaching clinical trials, as we speak. So we’re facing with this tidal wave in research, but sticking with what’s available now, there are three that are kissing-cousins. They are all in one class called colon esterase inhibitors.
Medicines like Denepozil or Aricept, Galantamine or Razadyne, Rivastigmine or Exelon, those three are relatively similar to one another. They work by boosting the chemical messenger system in the brain, and that’s associated with improved memory and thinking and preserved functioning ability for a while.
Then the fourth one is in a class by itself; it’s called Memantine or Namenda. It can be used alone or in combination with the other agents. It seems to work best in people who have somewhat more advanced Alzheimer’s, and so we tend to focus on it when things are kind of at the half-way point.
I think what I want people to know is that the medicines tend to be undervalued, and that’s because most practitioners haven’t treated enough patients to get a sense on a case-by-case basis what to look for, so there is a sort of negative aura around some of these treatments that I think is unfair. We advocate that everybody have a shot at treatment.
About Dr. Tariot:
Dr. Pierre Tariot is board-certified in internal medicine and geriatric psychiatry at Banner Alzheimer’s Institute. He has devoted his career to helping thousands of patients and families cope with dementia. He is also a world leader in the development of new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of memory loss.
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