Prescribing Alzheimer's disease drugs

Learn about the process of having Alzheimer's disease drugs prescribed by specialists in dementia care.

Who would prescribe the drugs?

NICE guidance (2011) states that, in the first instance, Alzheimer's disease drugs can only be prescribed by a specialist in dementia care. This will often be a consultant old-age psychiatrist, geriatrician or neurologist.

A GP will generally refer a person with suspected dementia to a memory service for a specialist assessment. A consultant-led team at the clinic will carry out a series of tests to determine whether the person has dementia and, if so, which type.

If the diagnosis is Alzheimer's disease, the consultant will offer the drugs and write the first prescription. In some parts of the country, arrangements allow for the consultant to write to the GP to ask them to start prescribing.

Symptoms and diagnosis

Find information on some common symptoms of dementia and ways to manage them, the process of getting an assessment, and what to do after a diagnosis.

Learn more

What follows after the initial prescription?

Once the person has started on the drugs and is stable at the optimum dose, the specialist will usually ask the GP to take over routine prescribing.

The person will then generally have regular reviews of how well their medication is working, either with a specialist at the memory clinic or with the GP. This divided responsibility between the consultant and GP is sometimes called shared care prescribing.

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