Treatment Options

Although no cure for Alzheimer’s disease is available at present, good planning, medical and social management can ease the burdens on the patient and family. New medications are now available that may slow the progression of the disease in early to moderate-impaired individuals. These drugs cannot alter the progressive loss of brain cells, but may help minimize or stabilize symptoms. These medications may also delay the need for nursing home care. Researchers are pursuing several lines of investigation for developing new treatments that may delay onset or slow progression of the disease, even in moderately severe to severe stages of illness. Many scientists believe that in the years to come we will have a regimen of drugs rather than a “magic bullet” for treating people with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.

Appropriate medications can lessen depression, agitation, anxiety, unpredictable behavior, and improve sleeping patterns. Many care strategies and activities can be used to manage behavior, prevent agitation, and improve the quality of life for people with the disease. Such strategies may also lessen the stress that caregivers often experience. Physical exercise and social activity are important, as is proper nutrition for health maintenance. A calm and well-structured environment allows the afflicted person to experience comfort and dignity.