Pharmaceutical Care and Clinical Standards
Although sadly there is presently no cure, a range of drugs can be prescribed to treat some of the common symptoms of dementia. For example anti depressants may be used to ease depression which can occur with dementia.
There are a well known group of anti-dementia drugs, these are Cholinesterase inhibitors such as Donepezil, Rivastigmine, Memantine and Galantamine and are often prescribed to people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. These help delay the onset of behavioural and psychological symptoms, or may reduce hallucinations in Lewy Body disease or Parkinson’s related dementia.
Memantine is sometimes given as a treatment for aggression and agitation to people with moderate to severe dementia. These drugs are not suitable for everyone and after a period they stop being effective.
Sometimes Anti-Psychotic drugs are used in care homes despite the fact that they do not address the causes, have side effects, and are potentially lethal. It is Government policy now to limit Anti-Psychotic drugs and their use for people with dementia. The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that non pharmacological approaches be tried ahead of drug treatments. This is a policy we pursue across our homes.