Currently there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s Disease and available treatment options may only slow the progression of this irreversible condition. While scientists work diligently to understand and develop new treatment options for this condition, there are a few medications available to patients affected with Alzheimer’s; however, these treatments do not alter the underlying disease process.
At present, there are four medications that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat Alzheimer’s—Memantine (Namenda), Donepezil (Aricept), Rivastigmine (Exelon), and Galantamine (Razadyne). These medications regulate neurotransmitters which are chemicals that transmit messages between neurons. It is speculated that these medications help maintain memory and thinking, but are only effective for some people, not all, and may help for only a period of time.
Recognizing the limited treatment options and the fact millions of Americans are affected with Alzheimer’s, President Barack Obama, in his Presidential Proclamation dated October 31, 2013, renewed his commitment to curing this disease, writing in part.
“In research labs across our country and around the world, scientists are working to unlock the answers to Alzheimer's disease...Earlier this year, I proposed the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, which aims to revolutionize our understanding of the human brain. By mapping the brain, we hope to better comprehend the causes of disorders like Alzheimer's disease and enhance our work on improving treatment. In September, the National Institutes of Health announced support for innovative new studies to help find effective interventions for this devastating degenerative brain disease…my Administration also remains committed to implementing the first-ever National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease, which lays out a roadmap to preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer's disease by 2025.
Working together with scientists, patient advocates, and those living with this disease, we can give a sense of hope to millions of families, patients, and caregivers…we offer our support to Americans with Alzheimer's disease…and press toward the next great scientific breakthrough.”
It is the hope in the not so far future, scientists will have a better understanding of this condition and perhaps even improved treatment options for individuals who suffer from this disease.
For additional information related to Alzheimer’s disease go to the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org