Drug treatments for Alzheimer's disease

There's no drug to cure dementia yet, but it's often possible to relieve some symptoms. Learn more about the main drug treatments for Alzheimer's disease.

There are no drug treatments that can cure Alzheimerā€™s disease or any other common type of dementia.

However, there are medicines for Alzheimerā€™s disease that can ease symptoms for a while, or slow down their progression, in some people. These drugs do not slow down or stop the progression of the underlying disease in the brain.

Listen to our helpsheet for a short audio summary of the main drug treatments for dementia:

Medication can be an important part of a personā€™s treatment for Alzheimerā€™s disease. However, drugs can only help with some symptoms and should only be one part of a personā€™s care. Information and advice, activities, support and treatments that donā€™t involve drugs are just as important in helping someone to live well with Alzheimerā€™s disease. A person with Alzheimerā€™s disease can look at The dementia guide: Living well after diagnosis, or Alzheimerā€™s disease: Understanding your diagnosis for more information.

Managing symptoms with drugs

Drugs can sometimes help with behavioral and psychological symptoms.

Learn more

What are the main drugs used to treat Alzheimer's disease?

Many drugs have at least two names:

  • a name for the main substance in the medicine (such as paracetamol)
  • a brand name (such as Panadol or Calpol).

Drugs are sometimes made with only the name of the substance (such as paracetamol) on the packaging. There are four drugs for Alzheimerā€™s disease:

Substance name Examples of brand names (UK):






Reminyl, Acumor XL*, Galsya XL*, Gatalin XL*


Ebixa, Nemdatine, Alzhok

*XL refers to a drug that is in a slow-release form. See Taking the drugs.

Donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine work in a similar way and are all known as ā€˜acetylcholinesterase inhibitorsā€™. (This is often shortened to ā€˜cholinesterase inhibitorsā€™.)

Memantine works differently to the other drugs, and is known as an ā€˜NMDA receptor antagonistā€™.

The next page tells you more about how these drugs work.

Think this page could be useful to someone? Share it:
Previous Section
You are on the first page