There are some treatments that can help with the symptoms of dementia with Lewy bodies.

The drugs used to treat Alzheimer's disease may help to improve some of the symptoms of DLB, including problems with thinking skills and visual hallucinations.

These drugs are called:

  • donepezil
  • rivastigmine
  • galantamine
  • memantine.

These drugs boost chemicals that help brain cells to communicate with each other, alleviating some of the memory and thinking symptoms in DLB. Unfortunately they do not work for everyone, and as symptoms become more severe, they may not work as well.

There are currently no medications available to slow down the progression of DLB but researchers are making progress towards finding lifechanging treatments.

Agitation and aggression

Agitation and aggression can be common symptoms in dementia. For people who experience these symptoms a doctor should first assess the person’s health and environment. This could help to identify any causes or triggers of agitation or aggression, so these can be addressed first before trying medication. A doctor may prescribe drugs called antipsychotics to treat these symptoms. However, people with DLB should be carefully monitored if they are prescribed these drugs as they can cause serious side-effects.

Movement

People who experience problems with movement in DLB can be treated using physiotherapy or with levodopa, a drug used for Parkinson’s disease. There is a risk that this drug may cause visual hallucinations or confusion symptoms to occur, or to get worse in people who already experience these. Any side effects from medications should be reported to your GP.

For people whose movement symptoms affect them whilst they’re asleep, practical steps, such as moving objects away from the bed, can reduce the risk of injury. There are also medications available to help people with DLB who have disrupted sleep because of movement. For general tips around sleep quality your doctor will be able to give you more advice.

Non-drug treatments, such as cognitive therapy, exercise and group activities may also help with some of the symptoms in DLB. You can discuss your treatment options with your doctor.

RS1285_Alex_Wallace_Photography_ARUK_Rebrand_Des and Valli_April 2023 (31)

Treatments for dementia

Read more about treatments for dementia, including information on treating depression, anxiety and agitation and for information on antipsychotics.

Dementia with Lewy bodies

This booklet is for anyone who wants to know more about dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). This includes people living with DLB, their carers, families and friends.

RS851_Alex_Wallace_Photography_ARUK__Rebrand_House_001-552
RS1317_Alex_Wallace_Photography_ARUK_Rebrand_Des and Valli_April 2023 (64) (1)

Order health information

Alzheimer’s Research UK has a wide range of information about dementia. Order booklets or download them from our online form.

This information was updated in December 2023 and is due to be reviewed in December 2025. It was written by Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Information Services team with input from lay and expert reviewers. Please get in touch if you’d like a version with references or in a different format.

 

Was this information helpful?

Let us know what you think by filling out this short survey.

Infoline banner-Alternative (1)

Dementia Research Infoline

Do you have questions about dementia? Want to take part in research projects?

Contact the Dementia Research Infoline:

9am-5pm, Monday to Friday

0300 111 5 111

infoline@alzheimersresearchuk.org