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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 48 (2006) 1, 17 - 26

Review article

Pharmacotherapy for Alzheimer's disease

F.R.J. Verhey

background   So far no causal therapies are available for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. However, four drugs, namely donepezil, rivastigmine, galantamine and memantine, have been licensed for treating the symptoms of the disease.
aim    To systematically review the efficacy and side-effects of these drugs.
method    With the help of Pubmed, Medline and the Cochrane Library the literature was searched systematically. results Cholinesterase-inhibitors and memantine do have a beneficial effect on cognition and daily functioning. The effect, however, is limited and the cholinesterase-inhibitors in particular frequently have side-effects.
conclusion    Treatment with the new anti-Alzheimer drugs demands a careful and realistic approach. The drugs should not be prescribed in isolation but the treatment needs to be embedded in the entire set of currently available psychosocial intervention techniques.


keywords Alzheimer disease, cholinesterase inhibitors, galantamine, memantine, pharmacotherapy, rivastigmine