Dementia treatments

A man and a woman talking in the garden over a hot drink

There is currently no cure for dementia. However, there are treatments for dementia, including medication, that can help with a person’s symptoms.

In the UK, there are four medications approved to ease some dementia symptoms: donepezil, rivastigmine, galantamine and memantine. Which medication is prescribed may depend on a number of factors, including the type of dementia.

Some people may also benefit from treatment options that don't involve medication.

There is no cure for dementia yet. However, with the right care and support, it is possible for someone to live as well as possible for as long as possible.

Alzheimer's Society has funded dementia research for over 30 years and has played a key role in some of the biggest breakthroughs.

However, research can only go so far without your help. We need thousands of people with and without dementia to take part in research. This could be taking part in a drug trial or simply giving a blood sample, completing a questionnaire or having a brain scan.

Take part in dementia research

No current medications stop, slow down or reverse dementia, although some can temporarily help a person with their memory and thinking. 

These treatments are only effective for people with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson’s disease dementia, and mixed dementia involving any of these types.

There aren’t yet any medications that improve the symptoms of vascular dementia or frontotemporal dementia.

Medication for dementia symptoms

It’s not possible to know in advance if a person’s symptoms will improve with treatment, as everyone responds differently. 

When a medication does help someone, symptoms tend to improve after a few weeks. This then usually lasts for between six and 12 months. At some point, the symptoms will gradually start to get worse again, even when the person is still taking the medication. 

Getting medication for dementia and starting treatment

It is common for people with dementia to develop changes in behaviour, such as agitation or aggression. Researchers have tried to see if dementia medications can help with these changes. Unfortunately, it’s currently unclear if they do.

However, in most cases, with the right person-centred care and support, these changes will pass. Approaches that do not involve medications should always be tried first.

Non-drug approaches to changes in mood and behaviour