Alzheimer's Disease

Frequently Asked Questions

14. Are there any medicines to treat Alzheimer's disease?

Currently, no treatment can stop Alzheimer's disease. However, four medications are used to treat its symptoms. These medicines may help maintain thinking, memory, and speaking skills for a limited time. They work by regulating certain chemicals in the brain. Most of these medicines work best for people in the early or middle stages of the disease.

For people with mild or moderate Alzheimer's, donepezil (Aricept®), rivastigmine (Exelon®), or galantamine (Razadyne®) may help. Donepezil is also approved to treat symptoms of moderate to severe Alzheimer's. Another drug, memantine (Namenda®), is used to treat symptoms of moderate to severe Alzheimer's, although it also has limited effects. All of these medicines have possible side effects.

Certain medicines and other approaches can help control the behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. These symptoms include sleeplessness, agitation, wandering, anxiety, anger, and depression.