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Dementia Overview (cont.)

Dementia Medications, Surgery, and Other Therapy

Except for the cholinesterase inhibitors, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any drug specifically for dementia. The drugs listed here are some of the most frequently prescribed from each class.

All drugs cause side effects. In prescribing a drug, doctors weigh whether the benefits of the drug outweigh the side effects. Seniors are especially likely to experience drug side effects. People with dementia who are taking any of these drugs must be checked often to make sure that the side effects are tolerable.

Dementia Surgery

No accepted surgical treatment can manage dementia. Surgery is reserved for specific conditions underlying dementia that might improve the condition, such as removal of a brain tumor or drainage of excess cerebrospinal fluid.

Dementia Other Therapy

Occupational therapy may help persons with dementia with activities of daily living such as feeding oneself. Physical therapy may improve mobility by teaching patients to use canes or walkers properly and showing them how to get in and out of chairs or beds. Music and art activities may be soothing and rewarding for some people with dementia. Respite care, having a person with dementia go temporarily to a nursing home, is another important source of help for family caregivers.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/17/2013

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