What Are the Treatments for Early-Onset Alzheimer's?


Quick Answer

Doctors use a class of drugs called cholinesterase inhibitors to treat the mild symptoms of early onset Alzheimer's disease, according to the Alzheimer's Association. As the symptoms become more severe, doctors may prescribe memantine as a substitute or addition to the existing treatment plan. The doctor may also manage other symptoms, such as depression, agitation, aggression and sleeplessness, with prescription medication, notes WebMD.

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Full Answer

Patients take cholinesterase inhibitors to slow the negative affects of Alzheimer's disease on judgement, language, memory and other thought processes, explains the Alzheimer's Association. When taking these drugs, which include donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine, half of all patients can expect the progression of their symptoms to delay for an average of six to 12 months.

Research published in 2014 indicates that high dosages of vitamin E may slow the rate of progression in patients with Alzheimer's disease, according to the Alzheimer's Association. However, there is not enough evidence to recommend that patients take vitamin E to slow Alzheimer's disease, and this vitamin can negatively interact with important prescription medication, such as drugs used to prevent blood clots and lower cholesterol.

Researchers estimate that 1 to 5 percent of all Alzheimer's diagnoses are early onset, notes Alzforum. Patients who display Alzheimer's symptoms before the age of 65 have early onset Alzheimer's disease. Clinical trials typically exclude early onset patients, so studies tailored to researching how to best treat early onset Alzheimer's disease are sparse.

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