The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative condition that currently affects 6.5 million Americans. By destroying nerve cells and synapses, which connect neurons and help them communicate, this brain disease affects memory, cognition, social behavior, and more. Now, researchers are now identifying medications that may be beneficial for Alzheimer’s patients, including medications that may help relieve certain symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and improve quality of life. Read on to find out which common medication (typically used for a different disorder) might benefit Alzheimer’s patients — and why some doctors say proceed with caution.
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Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease or related forms of dementia. However, doctors often prescribe medications to Alzheimer’s patients to reduce or temporarily relieve certain symptoms. These medications may help improve cognition, reduce behavioral or psychological symptoms, or help treat underlying conditions that may worsen the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
“We are still looking for a treatment to prevent the deterioration of the most complex organ system in the human body – the brain,” he says David MerrillMD, PhD, a geriatric psychiatrist and director of the Pacific Brain Health Center of the Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in California.
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According to new research published in BMJ Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and PsychiatryNoradrenergic drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression with Alzheimer’s disease. In particular, repurposing these medications for Alzheimer’s patients is thought to improve “general cognition” and relieve apathy, a common symptom among Alzheimer’s patients.
“Individual medication recommendations should be made on a case-by-case basis, targeting the most problematic symptoms,” Merrill said. best life. “However, this study finds that noradrenergic drug can be beneficial in a patient with early Alzheimer’s disease who has become more apathetic and struggles to get outside and engage in socially and cognitively stimulating activities.”
“Having indifference [in Alzheimer’s patients] It was associated with increased caregiver distress, decreased quality of life, and increased rates of disease,” according to a 2014 study published in the journal Current opinion in the behavioral sciences.
Given the sheer number of patients affected by symptoms, treating apathy can have a significant impact on Alzheimer’s patients. “Apathy, which is underappreciated, is probably the most common behavioral disorder in Alzheimer’s disease,” Merrill explains, noting that the drug may be especially helpful soon after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. “Having effective treatment options for apathy, especially early in the disease process, would significantly improve the quality of life for patients and families with Alzheimer’s disease.”
When apathy ceases to thwart their ability to socialize, dementia patients may see cognitive and psychological gains. “Being more active and engaging in activities can help stave off or slow further deterioration,” Merrill says. best life. “It really is a combination of the use of available medications, as well as the continuous improvement of health through lifestyle improvement. Physical exercise continues to be the best treatment available for maintaining and protecting brain health, and overall health in general. If medication can help an individual obtain and maintain If he is more physically active, that would be a win.”
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Before starting any new medication or course of treatment, it is important to weigh the potential benefits and side effects. Experts say it’s no different with noradrenergic drugs, which may come with a wide range of side effects.
“The use of noradrenergic drugs could be another useful avenue for practitioners when treating symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease,” Mahmoud KaraMD, said recently Healthline. “However, we have to remember that this is a group of medications with serious side effects and is not usually recommended for the elderly. Side effects include, but are not limited to, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, confusion, shortness of breath, and the risk of addiction” . Older adults, a population that is particularly vulnerable to the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, may be at greater risk for severe side effects of this particular drug.
Talk to your doctor to discuss the risks and benefits associated with this and other Alzheimer’s treatments.