Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a condition that occurs when there is a breakdown in the brain, in particular when there is a loss of communication among brain cells. Clear communication among brain cells is vital for the brain to function properly. If brain’s networking capabilities deteriorate, cognitive skills (ability to think, reason and remember) are affected or lost.

Rivastigmine (Exelon)

This drug increases levels of a chemical (Acetylcholine) which is needed for nerve to nerve message transfer in the brain. It has shown improvement of brain function in Alzheimers disease. Cognition, apathy, delusions and hallucinations improve with its use. Its usual doses are 1.5 to 3 mg twice a day.

Donepezil (Donecept)

It also improves cognitive functions by increasing acetylcholine levels in remaining nerves in the brains of Alzheimer’s patient. It has a longer duration of action, so it is given once in 5 to 10 mg daily at night.

Other Drugs

Other drugs tried are Tacrine, galantamine and antioxidant vitamins(vitamin E, C). Interestingly, Ibuprofen a pain reliever has been shown to slow the course of disease. A new class of pain relievers (COX-2 inhibitors) is also being evaluated to treat this otherwise incurable disease.

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