Kalamazoo Nerve Center, PLLC
Caregivers need to know about each medicine that a person with AD takes.
People with AD often need help taking their medicine. If the person still lives alone, you may need to call and remind him or her. It’s also helpful to buy a pillbox and put pills for each day in the box. That way all the pills for the day are in one place. You can get pillboxes at the drugstore. As the disease gets worse, you will need to keep track of the person's medicines. You also will need to make sure they take the medicine or you will need to give them the medicine. Ask the doctor or pharmacist about when to give the medications.
Both caregivers and doctors need to remember that no two people with AD are alike. This means that medications may work differently in different people.
Many factors may play a role in the disease, such as:
Work closely with the doctor to learn which medicines to use for AD, how much to use, and when to use them. Check with the doctor to see if Medicare or private insurance will cover the cost of the medicines. Also, find out if you can buy the non-brand, also called generic, type of medicines. They often cost less than brand-name medicines.
There are five medicines available to treat AD. Other promising new medicines are being tested.
It's important to understand that none of these medicines can cure or stop the disease. What they can do, for some people, is help slow down certain problems, such as memory loss. Slowing down memory loss can allow many people with AD to be more comfortable and independent for a longer time.
Medicines to treat mild to moderate AD all work in a similar way and may help reduce some symptoms.
Aricept® is also approved to treat moderate to severe AD. Another medication, Namenda®, may decrease symptoms, which could allow some people to do more things for themselves, such as using the toilet. The generic name of this drug is memantine (MEH-man-teen).
Sometimes doctors use more than one medicine to treat moderate to severe AD. For example, they might use Aricept® and Namenda®, which work in different ways. Another medication, Namzaric®(nam-ZAR-ic), combines donepezil and memantine in a single pill.
Anticholinergic drugs are used to treat many medical problems such as sleeping problems, stomach cramps, incontinence, asthma, motion sickness, and muscle spasms. Side effects, such as confusion, can be serious for a person with AD. These drugs should NOT be given to a person with AD. You might talk with the person's doctor about other options.
Examples of these drugs include:
Reference: National Institute on Aging
Last updated May 4, 2017