Therapeutic Approaches for Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease

Reviewing the Benefits and Limitations of Psychotropics and Cholinesterase Inhibitors

Wafa Harrouk, PharmD

The following are brief summaries of salient points from presentations in the session on Therapeutic Approaches for the Treatment of Alzheimer's disease, Sunday July 9th, 2000.

Clinical Status of Therapy for Behavioral Disturbances
Dr. Jeffrey L. Cummings, MD, from the Alzheimer's Disease Center, University of California, highlighted some of the most salient therapeutic interventions that are currently available for treatment of behavioural disturbances associated with AD. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is associated with a variety of neuro-psychiatric disturbances, including delusions, hallucinations, anxiety, depression, apathy, irritability, disinhibition, and agitation. Patients may also suffer from aberrant motor behaviours such as rummaging, pacing and wandering. These behavioural disturbances are stressful to the patient as well as to their caregivers. Appropriate treatment of these disturbances would improve the patients' quality of life, alleviate their caregiver's stress, and delay their placement in a nursing home. Relatively few double blind, placebo control trials of psychotrophic medications have been conducted on patients with AD.