Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
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Year : 2001  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 11-18

Pharmacotherapy Of Alzheimer's Disease

Correspondence Address:
Jasdeep Migalni

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Alzheimer's disease is characterized by degeneration of various structures in the brain, with development of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Deficiencies of acetylcholine and other neurotransmitters also occur. Pharmacological treatment of the disease generally seeks to correct the histopathology, the biochemical derangements or their defects. The incidence of the disease is increasing worldwide. About 35% of people develop Alzheimer’s disease by age 75, and the percentage rises with age. By age 85, almost half of all people get the ailment. Reliable estimates of prevalence of Alzheimer's disease in Indian subcontinent are not available as yet, however anecdotal data suggest a pattern consistent with worldwide trends. Physicians should be able to competently diagnose evaluate and initiate treatment in most patients with Alzheimer's dementia. Hence, it is imperative that neurologists familiarize themselves with the pharmacological treatments of this challenging illness. The authors attempt to given an overview of the various current pharmacologic treatments available for the disease. Contemporary treatment of the memory disturbance in Alzheimer's disease is to boost declining cholinergic function, which is characteristic of this disease. Therefore, the mainstay of current treatment is to use acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. The authors discuss the available acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and how they can be distinguished from each other on the basis of secondary pharmacologic properties. The article also discusses use of some other non-conventional and investigational drugs used for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

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