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Is Alzheimer's Curable?

by Carole Larkin, Alzheimer's & Dementia Expert
May 02, 2013

Question: Is Alzheimer’s Curable?

Answer: Not yet. The best that can be done right now is slow the progression of Alzheimer’s down for some people. There are 4 FDA approved drugs that may work on some people.The first 3 are cholinesterase inhibitors with the names of Aricept, Exelon and Razadyne. They work on one type of neurotransmitter in the brain to keep it pumped up. The last one is Namenda. It works on a different neurotransmitter in the brain, again to keep it pumped up. They are expensive (except Aricept- it has gone generic), have lots of side effects (especially gastro) for some people.  For those people it’s probably worth it to use them in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. The problem is, you don’t know if they are working until you take them off of them and the person’s cognition takes a big step downward. Restarting them will usually pick the person back up, but not all the way up to where they were before they were taken off the meds.  It’s a kind of roll the dice proposition.

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Carole Larkin MA, CMC, CAEd, QDCS, EICS is a geriatric care manager who specializes in helping families with Alzheimer’s and related dementias issues. She also trains caregivers in home care companies, assisted livings, memory care communities, and nursing homes in dementia specific techniques for best care of dementia sufferers. Her company, ThirdAge Services LLC, is located in Dallas, TX.

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