No treatment can stop or reverse Alzheimer’s disease. However several drugs are currently marketed to alleviate symptoms for a limited time. For people in early to middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease, doctors may prescribe rivastigmine (Exelon®) or galantamine (Razadyne®, previously marketed in the U.S. as Reminyl®). For people with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease, the FDA has approved memantine (Namenda®). Donezepil (Aricept®) has been approved for all stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Other medications may be prescribed to control behavioral symptoms such as sleeplessness, agitation, wandering, anxiety, and depression. Treating symptoms may make patients more comfortable and make caring for them easier, but may have side effects.
Today’s research efforts target causes and go beyond the currently marketed symptomatic agents to develop disease modifying drugs that can ultimately prevent the disease.