Symptom: Dementia Medication Overview

    Most diseases that cause dementia are progressive, which means that persons with the disease get worse over time. Unfortunately, no curative treatment for dementia is currently available. Some medications, however, can temporarily improve symptoms and functioning and may slow the progression of the basic disease process. Efforts to find effective drug therapy for dementia have frustrated scientists. Many drugs used for dementia are limited by side effects, short duration of action, and the need for frequent monitoring of blood levels or other laboratory values to prevent toxicity. Many assessment tools have been used to measure the effectiveness of dementia drugs, but effectiveness remains difficult to evaluate. Additionally, an enormous amount of dementia-related treatment information from a wide variety of sources is directed to consumers, including information on medications, herbal products, diet, exercise, and nutrition. The vast amount of material and its sometimes-questionable reliability make it difficult to distinguish fact from rumor. Despite these difficulties, researchers continue to search for drugs with improved effectiveness and better tolerability.

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    Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape Dementia: Overview of Pharmacotherapy »Perhaps the most important challenge in treating dementia is identifying cases (albeit uncommon) of reversible dementia such as chronic drug intoxication, vitamin deficiencies (B-12 and folate), subdural hematoma(s), major depression (causing forgetfulness), normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH), and hypothyroidism. Read More on Medscape Reference »
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