Treatment options in Alzheimer's disease: Maximizing benefit, managing expectations

Martin R. Farlow, Michael L. Miller, Vojislav Pejovic

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is becoming an increasingly heavy burden on the society of developed countries, and physicians now face the challenge of providing efficient treatment regimens to an ever-higher number of individuals affected by the disease. Currently approved anti-AD therapies - the cholinesterase inhibitors and the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist memantine - offer modest symptomatic relief, which can be enhanced using combination therapy with both classes of drugs. Additionally, alternative therapies such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, vitamin E, selegiline, Ginkgo biloba extracts, estrogens, and statins, as well as behavioral and lifestyle changes, have been explored as therapeutic options. Until a therapy is developed that can prevent or reverse the disease, the optimal goal for effective AD management is to develop a treatment regimen that will yield maximum benefits for individual patients across multiple domains, including cognition, daily functioning, and behavior, and to provide realistic expectations for patients and caregivers throughout the course of the disease. This review provides a basic overview of approved AD therapies, discusses some pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatment strategies that are currently being investigated, and offers suggestions for optimizing treatment to fit the needs of individual patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)408-422
Number of pages15
JournalDementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Antioxidants
  • Cholinesterase inhibitors
  • Combination therapy
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Memantine
  • Pharmacotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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