With Alzheimer’s disease thinking skills will gradually decline and the ability to do the simplest things will be lost. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia that is associated with progressive memory impairment and cognitive impairment.
There is no definitive cure for Alzheimer’s, but common treatments can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Here are some drugs that increase cognitive ability in Alzheimer’s disease.
How does the brain change in Alzheimer’s?
Long before a person with Alzheimer’s disease becomes symptomatic, changes begin in the brain, brain cells die and the brain shrinks.
The main cause is the abnormal production of certain types of proteins in and around brain cells (neurons). One of these proteins is called amyloid. (Nerve cells) Amyloid abnormally formed around nerve cells is called plaque, and abnormal amyloid inside neurons (nerve cells) is called tau. With the death of brain cells, the connection between different areas of the brain gradually disappears and the brain gradually becomes smaller.
What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease?
The onset of Alzheimer’s disease is very gradual and silent and is sometimes mistaken for part of the normal aging process.
Early in the disease, the person suffers from a short-term memory disorder, and gradually the person’s perception, reasoning, and judgment become impaired, and those around him or her experience changes in the patient’s moods and behavior.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease:
These symptoms include the following:
- Memory impairment:
A person with Alzheimer’s disease forgets most things, especially things that have happened recently, and will never remember them.
- Speech disorder:
The sentences of a person with Alzheimer’s disease become incomprehensible and ambiguous; the person has many mistakes in grammar and vocabulary and is unable to follow the topic of discussion.
- Lost temporal and spatial position:
A person with Alzheimer’s disease does not know when he or she is, and in terms of location, he or she may not be able to find a way back when he or she leaves home.
- Loss of ability to perform routine tasks:
For example, an infected person forgets how he used to cook or vacuum.
- Impairment in reasoning and judgment and weakness in simple decisions:
For example, a person suffering from summer heat may wear thick winter clothes or place objects in an inappropriate place. For example, he puts the iron in the freezer.
- Lack of awareness of your problems
- Disorder of mental thinking:
The sufferer does not know the numbers and cannot perform the usual counts
- Unstable mood:
The sufferer’s calmness and laughter can turn into anger and crying in a short time for no reason
- Severe personality changes:
Progressive apathy and indifference to family and loved ones
Stages of Alzheimer’s disease
We said that Alzheimer’s disease is progressive, seven stages have been defined for this disorder, which are as follows:
Stage 1: Microscopic changes in brain cells begin but the patient is not symptomatic
Step Seven: very. Severe decline
We will explain each of these seven steps in detail in a separate article.
Treatment of Alzheimer’s disease
Although no definitive cure has been found to stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, there are drugs that can treat the symptoms to some extent and improve the quality of life of the person with Alzheimer’s disease.
Weakness and impairment in cognitive and perceptual skills are the main symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. When we talk about symptoms and impairment in perceptual (cognitive) skills, we mean the following:
- Memory loss
- Problems in thinking
- Problem in reasoning
The two major categories of drugs currently used by the Food and Drug Administration to enhance cognitive skills in Alzheimer’s disease are:
- Cholinesterase inhibitors:
Acetylcholine is one of the messengers in our nervous system. During Alzheimer’s disease, the amount of this substance is low, so to prevent further reduction of acetylcholine, drugs have been developed called acetylcholine degrading enzyme called cholinesterase. As a result, acetylcholine does not break down.
Three types of drugs in this category are widely used:
- Donepzil (Aricept):
This medicine is available in the form of tablets and is taken once a day with or without food. It is better for patients to use this medicine at the same time during the day (for example, in the morning, at noon or …).
This drug can be used in all stages of Alzheimer’s disease, from the mild form to the very severe form that everyone can use. It helps control the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease but cannot cure it definitively.
It is necessary to continue this medicine, even if the patient’s condition improves.
Your doctor will start with a low dose and increase the dose over the next four to six weeks. Your doctor may increase the dose again three months later.
This medicine should not be crushed or chewed. If the patient is unable to swallow the pill, tell your doctor.
If you miss a dose, do not take it again and wait until the next dose.
It is not necessary to follow a special diet with this medicine
Side effects of dopezil include:
- Decreased appetite
- Frequent urination
- Muscle cramps
- Pain and swelling of the joints
- General fatigue
- Change in mood
- Strange dreams
- Itching, redness and flaking of the skin
In case of overdose of this drug (overdose), which will include the following symptoms, it is necessary to inform the doctor and, if necessary, to go to the medical center immediately:
- Rinsing from the corner of the mouth
- Severe nausea and vomiting
- Reduce heart rate
- Difficult breathing
- Pervasive muscle weakness
- Galantamin (Razadyne):
It is used to control the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in mild to moderate stages. It is better to take the medicine with breakfast and dinner. Drink enough water. Alcohol should also be discontinued while taking this drug because it interferes with alcohol.
Side effects of Galantamine include:
- The most common side effects will be gastrointestinal side effects. More than 10% of users of this drug experience nausea and vomiting
- Cardiovascular complications:
Decreased heart rate
- Nervous system complications:
Depression, fatigue, drowsiness, nausea, headache and dizziness
Other side effects:
- Shivering and muscle cramps
- Skin complications
- Increased risk of cerebral hemorrhage
- Decreased seizure threshold
In case of severe skin symptoms or seizures, immediate medical attention is required.
In addition to the drugs listed above, other drugs that have been used to enhance cognitive ability in Alzheimer’s disease include:
It is available as an oral tablet
The effective dose of this drug is 20 mg daily in two divided doses, but usually the doctor starts with a dose of 5 mg and increases the dose every week.
This drug is used in moderate to severe cases of Alzheimer’s
If you miss a dose and the time for the second dose is near, do not double the dose
- Side effects:
- Headache and fatigue
- The lack of balance
- Inflammation of the bladder
- Increased libido !!!
Concomitant use of this drug with amantadine, ketamine, dextromethorphan should inform your doctor.
In case of severe renal insufficiency, the use of this drug is prohibited