Topic Reads: Current medications for dementia

This page gives some excerpts and links for current medical treatments available for dementia.

Many medical conditions can create dementia symptoms. Research focus is mainly on Alzheimer’s Disease, the commonest form of dementia. But there are no disease-modifying therapies even for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Here is an excerpt from page 13 of the 2016 Facts and Figures report of Alzheimer’s Association, USA:

None of the pharmacologic treatments (medications) available today for Alzheimer’s disease slows or stops the damage and destruction of neurons that cause Alzheimer’s symptoms and make the disease fatal. .

The National Institute on Aging has a page discussing treatment[2] that explains that the medical approach still has a long way to go. Quote below was taken in May 2016:

Alzheimer’s disease is complex, and it is unlikely that any one drug or other intervention can successfully treat it. Current approaches focus on helping people maintain mental function, manage behavioral symptoms, and slow or delay the symptoms of disease.

Links to some standard, authoritative sources are provided in the reference section below for further reading.

Note that some private clinics and organizations push their “stem cell therapy” product as a sure way to cure Alzheimer’s and other dementia. This is misleading. The Indian Govt. has issued guidelines on stem cell research[3]. It has cautioned against untested techniques and the harms to patients by laboratory manipulation of stem cells. Also, while stem cell research is an important direction of research for Alzheimer’s Disease, there is no approved treatment yet. The position of the Alzheimer’s Society on Stem Cell Research/ Therapies is also available as a document[4]; some excerpts from the document, reconfirmed in May 2016):

Developing stem cell therapy for Alzheimer’s disease may be more complicated and challenging than for some other neurological conditions. This is because the damage caused to the brain is so widespread and many different nerve cell types are damaged. In addition, the disease impacts on communication between cells.
It is therefore unlikely that Alzheimer’s disease will be one of the first diseases to benefit from advances in this area of research. But in the long term, stem cell therapy may lead to advances in the treatment of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

A related topic is the effectiveness of alternate therapies. Many media reports claim that some activities or some herbs or foods can prevent or cure dementia. Various claims and reports are discussed on our page here[5], which also talks about how to interpret studies and evaluate alternate therapies.


References from above discussion

Additional links to understand the status of treatments and research:


This topic read page is referred to from: Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention

[The information on this page is a collation from standard, authoritative sources, provided only for convenience. Caregivers can check out these and other sources to get better informed about this topic.]