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alzheimer's disease medication

 

Drugs used in Alzheimer's disease

Cholinesterase Inhibitors

The following three drugs in this group are licensed for the treatment of this disease in the UK.

Donepezil

Galantamine (Galantamine)

Rivastigmine

Galantamine is not available in Pakistan.

There is no significant difference between these drugs. These usually affect symptoms such as memory loss, loss of interest in things and nervousness. These drugs do not completely cure the disease, but some researchers believe that they can slow the progression of the disease to some extent.

Advantages of these medicines:

These can improve memory, especially remembering new information or helping to recall previously held events. They also have some other benefits like being more aware of the mind or increasing interest in things etc. Some people experience an improvement in mood that makes them resume doing things they've stopped doing.

It may take a few months to notice improvement or slow down the progression of the disease

Adverse effects:

These medications can also have these painful side effects.

·       Feeling nauseous

·       Diarrhea (dysentery)

·       Loss of appetite

·       Muscle spasms

·       Insomnia or excessive dreaming

These side effects can be mitigated to some extent by reducing and then gradually increasing the dose of the drug, and taking it after meals. These effects usually begin to subside after a few weeks and disappear if the drug is stopped.

How long these medicines should be taken for?

These medicines are initially given for three to four months. If no benefit is seen from them in three to four months, they should be stopped on the advice of the doctor. If they start showing benefit, then there is no agreement on how long they should be given. A test for Alzheimer's disease is the Mini Mental State Examination. At the moment, it is said that these drugs should only be used when Alzheimer's disease is of moderate severity, meaning the test scores between 10 and 20. But there is some evidence that some patients benefit from mild to severe disease.

Before starting this medicine, you may also have some blood tests and a brain scan to see if there are other causes of your memory loss other than Alzheimer's disease.

Memantine

This drug has been used to treat dementia in Germany since 1989. It affects glutamate, a brain chemical that is involved in memory and learning. In Alzheimer's disease, too much glutamate is released from damaged brain cells, causing memory loss. Research so far shows that the progression of dementia is somewhat slowed in a little more than half of people who take the drug, but the benefit is still high. It has only been seen in people with severe dementia. Side effects of memantine, which are not very severe, include nausea, restlessness, stomach pain, and headache.

More research on memantine is currently underway. According to guidelines issued by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence in the UK, memantine should not be given to the general population in the UK because there are doubts about the extent of benefit.

Gingko Biloba

It is a naturally occurring drug obtained from a tree called "maidenhair". It has long been said to improve memory. Some research shows that it may be as beneficial in Alzheimer's disease as the drugs mentioned above. It is believed to treat naturally occurring toxins in the body that are released from injured and dying cells. It may also improve blood circulation in the brain.

 

It also has some side effects. It can interfere with blood clotting, so people with diseases that reduce the ability of blood to clot, or who are taking blood-thinning drugs such as aspirin or warfarin, should avoid it. Medicines should not be used.

The general consensus is that more research is needed before regular use of this drug. This medicine can also be taken with other medicines mentioned above. But it is important that you consult your doctor before starting it.

VITAMIN-E

It is also a naturally occurring drug found in soybean oil, sunflower seeds, corn and cottonseed, cereal or fish oils, or nuts. Vitamin E has many benefits in the body and also helps protect other cells from toxins released from injured and dying cells.

Some research shows that it can slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease. In the US, this drug is used as a second-line drug after or with cholinesterase inhibitors.

It also affects blood clotting. Therefore, it is important that patients who are taking blood thinners or suffering from blood clotting disorders take this medicine with caution after consulting a doctor. However, this medicine can be taken with aspirin.

A 2004 study suggested that daily consumption of more than 400 units may be harmful. Some experts say that its daily maximum amount should be 200 units. Some experts also believe that regular long-term consumption of a diet rich in this vitamin may help reduce the risk of this disease.

Selegeline

This drug is commonly used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. It is believed to protect other cells from toxins released from damaged and dying cells. But compared to vitamin E, its side effects are more like decrease in blood pressure, nausea, dizziness, excessive sleep etc.

Some research also suggests that it may slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease, but more research is needed.

alzheimer's disease medication


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