There are some treatments available for people with dementia, but we're working to bring about the first one that will really change lives.
Alzheimer’s Research UK is working to bring about life-changing treatments for dementia.
What do we mean by this?
At the moment, there are no treatments to slow, stop or prevent the diseases, like Alzheimer’s, that cause dementia. In other words, nothing can be done to stop the damage to the brain as these diseases progress. As a result, people’s symptoms worsen over time and they’ll lose the ability to do essential everyday tasks.
Alzheimer’s Research UK is bringing together and funding the best scientific minds and ideas, to better understand these diseases and discover ways to slow or prevent them. When we make these breakthroughs, we will be able to improve the lives of people with dementia and help us all to live longer in better health.
For people living with dementia, there are some drug and non-drug treatments available that help people to manage their symptoms. However, the treatments available differ depending on the type of dementia and they may only help some people for a short time. At Alzheimer’s Research UK, we’d always advise that people speak to their doctor about what is available to them.
- These are suitable for people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease and may also help to improve some of the symptoms of dementia with Lewy bodies.
- Some people may notice an improvement in memory and thinking on these drugs, whereas others may find their symptoms seem to stabilise.
- There are three of these treatments available: Donepezil (Aricept), Rivastigmine (Exelon) and Galantamine (Reminyl).
- A treatment recommended for people with severe Alzheimer’s disease, and for people with moderate Alzheimer’s if the cholinesterase inhibitors don’t help or are not suitable.
Other types of dementia:
For vascular dementia, there are no specific treatments at the moment. But as this form of dementia is linked to risk factors for vascular disease, a doctor may prescribe medication to treat some of these risks, like high blood pressure or diabetes.
There are no treatments currently available for people with frontotemporal dementia, which is a rare form of the condition accounting for less than 5% of all dementia cases.
There are several types of cognitive therapy that may benefit people with dementia. Cognitive stimulation activities are designed to stimulate thinking skills and engage people who have dementia.
They are often group-based and include games, with an emphasis on enjoyment. Cognitive stimulation can be provided by health or social care staff with appropriate training. The benefits of cognitive stimulation for people with dementia could include improvement in memory, thinking skills and quality of life.