Drugs to Fight Alzheimer’s
Although there is no known cure yet for Alzheimer’s disease, there are already a number of drugs available worldwide that can help slow down a patient’s cognitive deterioration. The main aim of these Alzheimer’s medications is to try and improve cognitive ability or the person’s capability to think, perceive, judge and recognize.
There are currently five drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that can be used to treat Alzheimer’s. There is ongoing research done all the time to test the effectiveness of such medications since they do not serve as a cure-all for the disease.
These medications may not have the same effects on all patients that are suffering from Alzheimer’s. But such prescription drugs can have significant effects on some of the patients with Alzheimer’s disease and should be given consideration as a possible treatment.
The 5 FDA Approved Medications are:
The first four drugs listed above belong to a group of drugs known as Cholinesterase Inhibitors. They work by trying to delay the break down of a substance known as acetylcholine in the brain which helps in bridging communication between nerve cells and has an important role in a person’s memory.
Nameda on the other hand acts on another neurotransmitter called glutamate and shields the brain from then said substance which contributes to the death of brain cells in people with Alzheimer’s disease. This drug is more effective in treating moderate to severe forms of Alzheimer’s disease, improving the day to day life of the person with Alzheimer’s disease.
The most common side effects associated with the drug Nameda include dizziness, confusion, constipation, headache and skin rashes. Some patients may experience less common side effects such as tiredness, back pain, high blood pressure, insomnia, hallucinations, vomiting and occasional shortness of breath.
The drugs Aricept, Exelon and Razadyne are seen to be most effective in treating the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. This group of prescription drugs has been shown to have some modest effect in slowing down the degeneration of a patient’s cognitive abilities.
These drugs can also help in trying to reduce certain behavioral problems usually exhibited by people suffering from Alzheimer’s. When these drugs are administered effectively on an Alzheimer’s patient, they can significantly improve one’s quality of life and more able to cope up with the disease.
Alzheimer’s patients taking these medications may experience some side effects which may not be the same for all patients. Common side effects observed in patients using the drug Aricept include nausea, vomiting, excessive tiredness, sleeping troubles and muscle cramps.
Less frequent observed side effects of the drug are headaches and dizziness with rare cases of patients suffering from anorexia, gastric or duodenal ulcers, gastro-intestinal hemorrhage, bladder overflow obstruction, liver damage, convulsions, heart problems and psychiatric disturbances while using Aricept as medication.
The usual side effects seen in using Exelon as treatment for Alzheimer’s are nausea, vomiting, weight loss, stomach upset and fatigue. Less usual side effects observed with the use of the said drug are abdominal pain, sweating, diarrhea, headaches, tremor, and psychiatric disturbances such as anxiety or depression with rare cases of patients experiencing gastro-intestinal bleeding.
The drug Cognex is used less frequently for Alzheimer’s treatment as it can cause serious liver damage to most patients. Other side effects of the drug include nausea and vomiting. Some patients may also experience some abdominal pain, sore muscles, headache, dizziness, rapid breathing, increased urination, insomnia, runny nose or mouth, swelling in legs and feet when taking Cognex. Some of the most severe side effects associated with using Cornex are liver damage, heart problems and seizures.
The common side effects often reported with the use of Razadyne are nausea, vomiting, appetite loss and weight loss. Less common are fatigue, dizziness, tremor, headaches, abdominal pain, urinary tract infection, blood in urine, runny nose. There are no serious side effects with this drug.