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Alzheimer's Disease in Down Syndrome (cont.)

Alzheimer's Disease in People with Down syndrome - Treatment

There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease. The disease progresses and becomes worse, despite treatment. The medications listed below have been used for or found to be useful to slow Alzheimer's disease progression, but few studies have been done with donepezil (Aricept) and rivastigmine (Exelon), in individuals with Down syndrome; and it is not clear how useful these drugs are in persons with Down syndrome. For more information on these medications see Understanding Alzheimer's Disease Medications.

Medical treatment is directed toward treating the signs and symptoms of dementia, or treating coexisting behavioral changes such as psychosis, anxiety, or depression.

Two types of drugs have been studied enough to gain approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and may provide modest improvement.

  • Acetyl cholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors, such as tacrine (Cognex), donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Reminyl), and rivastigmine (Exelon)
  • N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) blockers, such as memantine (Namenda, Axura)

Treatment for coexisting behaviors may include antipsychotics, antidepressants, or antianxiety drugs. Data continue to emerge regarding other potential drugs that may treat or decrease the risk of developing dementia. For a complete discussion of medications for dementia, see the article Dementia Medication Overview.

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