Drugs

Alzheimer's Disease Drugs

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), there are medications approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to help ease symptoms.  These include donepezil, galantamine, memantine, and rivastigmine. Their effectiveness can vary from person to person and diminish over time.

There are also other medications not specifically developed for AD, which may be prescribed to help with symptoms associated with AD. These include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, sleep aids, and antipsychotics. Here is a summary of these commonly prescribed medications for AD.

Medicines Used to Help Treat Alzheimer’s Disease

Generic Name (Brand Name Example)

Medication Use

Donepezil (Aricept)

Used to delay or slow the symptoms of AD.
• loses its effect over time
• used for mild, moderate and severe AD

Galantamine (Razadyne)

Used to prevent or slow the symptoms of AD.
• loses its effect over time
• used for mild to moderate AD
• comes in pill form or as a skin patch

Memantine (Namenda)

Used to delay or slow the symptoms of AD.
• loses its effect over time
• used for moderate to severe AD
• sometimes given with Aricept, Exelon, or Razadyne

Rivastigmine (Exelon)

Used to prevent or slow the symptoms of AD.
• loses its effect over time
• used for mild to moderate AD
• comes in pill form or as a skin patch

Citalopram (Celexa)

Used to reduce depression and anxiety.
• may take four to six weeks to work
• sometimes used to help people get to sleep

Sodium valproate (Depakote)

Used to treat severe aggression.
• also used to treat depression and anxiety

Mirtazepine (Remeron)

Used to reduce depression and anxiety.
• may take four to six weeks to work
• sometimes used to help people get to sleep

Carbamazepine (Tegretol)

Used to treat seizures
• also used to treat depression and anxiety

Sertraline (Zoloft)

Used to reduce depression and anxiety.
• may take four to six weeks to work
• sometimes used to help people get to sleep

You should only take medication specifically prescribed for you by your doctor. Never use a medication you’ve been prescribed for any other purpose unless specifically told to so by your doctor. Don’t stop taking any medicines without first talking to your doctor.