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Are there any drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease?

No treatment can stop Alzheimer’s disease. However, four drugs are used to treat symptoms of the disease. They may help maintain thinking, memory, and speaking skills and help with some behavioral problems for a limited time. These drugs work by regulating certain chemicals in the brain.

For people with mild or moderate Alzheimer’s, donepezil (Aricept®), rivastigmine (Exelon®), or galantamine (Razadyne®) may help prevent some symptoms from becoming worse for a limited time. Donepezil is also approved for symptoms of moderate to severe Alzheimer’s. Another drug, memantine (Namenda®), is used to treat symptoms of moderate to severe Alzheimer’s, although it is also limited in its effects.

All of these drugs have possible side effects, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. You should report any unusual symptoms to a doctor right away. It is important to follow a doctor’s instructions when taking any medication.

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