Doctors use medicines to treat dementia in the following ways:
- To correct a condition that's causing dementia, such as thyroid replacement for hypothyroidism, vitamins for lack of vitamin B12, or antibiotics for infections
- To maintain mental functioning for as long as possible when dementia cannot be reversed
- To prevent further strokes in people who have dementia caused by stroke (vascular dementia)
- To manage mood or behavior problems, such as depression, insomnia, Reference hallucinations Opens New Window, and agitation
Medicines to help maintain mental function
- Reference Cholinesterase inhibitors such as donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Reminyl), and rivastigmine (Exelon).
- Reference Memantine (Namenda). This medicine is used to treat symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, but may also help with mild to moderate vascular dementia.Reference 3
Medicines to help control mood or behavior problems
- Reference Antipsychotic drugs, such as risperidone (Risperdal) and olanzapine (Zyprexa).
- Antidepressants, especially Reference selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
Medicines to prevent future strokes
- The doctor may prescribe medicines for high blood pressure and high cholesterol, since these conditions are risk factors for vascular dementia.Reference 4 These drugs can't reverse existing dementia, but they may prevent future strokes and heart disease that can lead to further brain damage.
For more information, see the topics:
- Reference High Blood Pressure.
- Reference High Cholesterol.
- Reference Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA).
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference August 11, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Peter J. Whitehouse, MD - Neurology
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