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NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine, Trusted Health Information from the National Institutes of Health

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's Treatment

Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer's. Because it is a complex disease, scientists believe that it may take more than one approach—perhaps a combination of drugs and lifestyle—to prevent or treat it. Extensive research is being done to develop and test a variety of possible treatments for Alzheimer's.

Current treatments:

These focus on ways to slow symptoms of the disease. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved four drugs to treat Alzheimer's disease:

  • for mild to moderate symptoms, rivastigmine, galantamine, and donepezil may help maintain mental abilities and control specific behavioral symptoms for varying periods of time.
  • memantine is designed to help with the symptoms of moderate and severe Alzheimer's dementia.
  • donepezil is also used for severe Alzheimer's dementia.

Potential treatments:

Scientists are now conducting research studies to see if they can find ways to delay or prevent the disease by targeting the underlying disease process.

Now being tested:

  • drugs that interfere with basic processes that may be involved in Alzheimer's, including immunization therapy and other interventions designed to lower the levels of Alzheimer's pathologies in the brain
  • treatments for health issues that may be linked to Alzheimer's, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes
  • cognitive training
  • eating a healthy diet
  • exercise and physical activity

Find Out More

To learn about support groups, services, research centers, research studies, and publications about AD, contact the following resources:

Summary—What you need to know

  • Know the signs of Alzheimer's disease.
  • See your doctor if you are worried about your memory or think you might have Alzheimer's disease. It's important to find out what is causing your memory problems.
  • Take medicines to help treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Right now, there is no cure.
  • Think about joining a clinical trial if you are healthy or if you have Alzheimer's disease.
  • Get help if you are caring for someone with Alzheimer's.

Winter 2015 Issue: Volume 9 Number 4 Page 13