Management of the multiple symptoms of Lewy body dementias (dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease with dementia) can be complicated, and may require coordination by a physician experienced with Lewy body disorders. This is partly because medicines that help one symptom may worsen another. In addition, some medicines can cause serious problems for people with Lewy body dementias.
There are no drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration specifically for dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). For Parkinson’s disease with dementia (PDD), Exelon has been approved for problems with memory and thinking. Treatments your doctor may prescribe to treat the symptoms of DLB or PDD include:
- Cholinesterase inhibitors (Aricept, Exelon, Razadyne) for problems with memory and thinking. These drugs may also help psychiatric symptoms such as hallucinations and anxiety.
- Antidepressants for depression (see sensitivity to medicines)
- Parkinson’s medicines such as levadopa for muscle stiffness, tremors and problems with, coordination (see sensitivity to medicines)
- Melatonin or Clonazepam for REM sleep disorder
- Physical therapy for problems with walking, coordination and balance
- Speech therapy for problems with speaking or swallowing.
Note: some doctors also prescribe Memantine (Namenda) for problems with memory and thinking. The Lewy Body Dementia Association’s Scientific Advisory Council does not recommend Namenda at this time.
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