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3.2 Medications

Strategies, therapies and medications to help with memory and thinking difficulties

In Australia there are four approved medications for dementia. Medications with the generic (brand) names donepezil (Aricept, Arazil), galantamine (Reminyl, Galantyl, Gamine-XR) and rivastigmine (Exelon, Rivastigmelon) are approved for people with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease, and memantine (Ebixa, Memanxa), is approved for people with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease.

These medications work by increasing or balancing levels of a certain chemical (acetylcholine) that is responsible for transmission of memory between brain cells. These medications have been shown to improve or maintain memory and thinking for about a year, in some people with Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy Body dementia. Like all medications there are side effects.

You can read more about these medications, including their side effects on the NPS Medicinewise website. Talk with your person and if they are interested, make an appointment with the GP or specialist to discuss if these medications are suitable.


Ask your doctor

Ask the doctor if medications could help the memory or thinking difficulties of the person with dementia.