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J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. 2011 May;49(5):17-20. doi: 10.3928/02793695-20110407-03. Epub 2011 Apr 27.

Alternative drug therapies for dementia.

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University of Pittsburg School of Medicine, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.


Drugs currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease include acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (i.e., tacrine, donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine) and glutamate-modulating (i.e., memantine) drugs. Because these drugs have modest benefits, various alternative drug therapies have been of interest. Drugs with vasodilator activity were originally tried in dementia when it was hypothesized that the condition was due to cerebrovascular insufficiency. Isoxsuprine and ergoloid mesylates are FDA approved for the treatment of dementia, although they have limited evidence of benefit and are rarely used. The hypothesis that free radicals may initiate and maintain mechanisms responsible for neurodegeneration in dementia has stimulated interest in investigating various antioxidant and anti-inflammatory drugs. There is no evidence that other drug therapies, including vitamin E, selegiline, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, statin drugs, omega-3 fatty acids, estrogen or combined estrogen plus progestin therapy, or B vitamins, are sufficiently effective and safe to justify their clinical use for the treatment of dementing disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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