Health care - Treatment and medication - Treatment options

Although currently there is no cure for dementia, research continues to make advances toward better treatments and medications. By educating yourself about various treatment and medication options, you will be in a better position to explore these with your health care team and make sure, when the time comes, you are able to make the best decisions for yourself.

Frequently asked questions

What treatment options are available? Click for answer

There are two main treatment options for those diagnosed with dementia: pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapies.

Pharmacological therapies include cholinesterase inhibitors for the mild to moderate stage of dementia Aricept, Exelon, Reminyl, and Memantine Ebixa (Memantine hydrochloride) for the moderate to severe stage. There are also additional medications for mood and behavioural symptoms.

Non-pharmacological therapies include:

  • Cognitive therapies (e.g., memory exercises, reality orientation in the early stages, and reminiscence therapy)
  • Non-cognitive therapies (e.g., music therapy; art therapy, massage therapy; aroma therapy; pet therapy)
  • Environmental modification (e.g., home safety; job restructuring; aids to travel)

Source: The information above comes from Cohen, S. (2005). Lifestyle changes: the physician's perspective. Presented at the A Changing Melody Forum, Toronto, Ontario, November 12, 2005.

Can my memory loss be reversed with treatment and medication? Click for answer

Memory loss due to dementia and the damage inside your brain is not reversible, although treatment options and lifestyle choices can work to slow the progression. Other dementia related memory problems and confusion can be reversed with the proper diagnosis of any number of conditions such as depression, thyroid disease, infections, adverse drug effects, drug interactions, and so forth. Stress can have a negative impact on memory so it is important to find effective ways to cope with stress. 

Can medications cure dementia? Click for answer

Medications can help with some of the symptoms people experience, but at this time there is no cure for dementia. While some people respond to certain medications, others may not, because dementia affects people differently.