Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook
Print this pageEMail this page

Alzheimer's Disease

Medications Used to Control Dementia

Anti-Dementia Anti-Dementia

Donepezil (Aricept®): Start with 5 mg/day; increase to 10 mg after four weeks and then to 23 mg after 3 months.
Side effects: nausea; diarrhea; poor appetite

Galantamine (Razadyne®ER): Start with 8 mg a day; increase by 8 mg every four weeks up to 24 mg a day.
Side effects: nausea; diarrhea; poor appetite

Memantine (Namenda®): Start with 5 mg a day; increase by 5 mg a week up to 10 mg twice a day.
Side effects: headache, dizziness, confusion

Rivastigmine Exelon®): Start with 4.6 mg/24 hour patch daily; increase to 9.5 mg/24 hour patch daily in 4 weeks.
Side effects: nausea; diarrhea; poor appetite

Antidepressants

Bupropion Wellbutrin® ): 75 - 300 SR mg/day in two divided doses or 150 ? 300 XL mg once a day.
Side effects: agitation; anxiety; seizures; restlessness; insomnia; arrhythmia

Citalopram (Celexa®): 10 - 60 mg/day
Side effects: nausea; dry mouth; sedation

Clomipramine (Anafranil®): 50 ? 250 mg/day in two divided doses
Side effects: sedation; seizures; weight gain; sexual dysfunction

Escitalopram (Lexapro®): 10 ? 20 mg/day
Side effects: nausea, dry mouth; sedation

Fluoxetine (Prozac®): 10 - 40 mg/day
Side effects: anxiety; insomnia; nausea; weight loss; tremor

Fluvoxamine (Luvox): 50 - 300 mg/day in two divided doses
Side effects: nausea; insomnia; sedation

Mirtazepine (Remeron®): 15 - 30 mg at night
Side effects: sedation; weight gain; dry mouth

Nortriptyline (Aventyl®): 25 - 75 mg/day. Be sure to have doctor check the patient's blood plasma levels.
Side effects: dry mouth; confusion; constipation; sedation; light-headedness

Paroxetine (Paxil®): Start with 10 - 40 mg/day.
Side effects: insomnia; nausea; anxiety

Sertraline (Zoloft®): 50 - 200 mg/day
Side effects: insomnia; diarrhea; tremor

Trazodone (Deseryl): 50 - 300 mg at night
Side effects: sedation; light-headedness

Venlafaxine (Effexor®): 37.5 - 150 XR mg/day
Side effects: nausea; sedation


Antipsychotics

Aripiprazole (Abilify®): 5 to 15 mg/day
Side effects: activation; sedation

Clozapine (Clozaril®): 6.25 - 200 mg/day in one or two doses. Must get weekly white blood counts.
Side effects: severely low white blood count; light headedness; confusion; dry mouth; sedation; constipation

Haloperidol
 (Haldol®) : 0.25 - 2 mg/day. Gradually increase this dose. Use sparingly only for severe agitation.
Side effects: Parkinson's Disease symptoms; sedation; falling; abnormal movements

Olanzepine (Zyprexa®): 2.5 - 10 mg/day
Side effects: sedation; light headedness; confusion; dry mouth; constipation

Quetiapine (Seroquel®): 12.5 - 200 mg/day in two divided doses
Side effects: sedation; light headedness

Risperidone
 (Risperdal®): 0.5 - 2 mg/day in two divided doses
Side effects: sedation; Parkinson's Disease symptoms

Ziprasidone (Geodon®): 20 ? 160 mg/day in two divided doses
Side effects: irregular heart beat; sedation; Parkinson's Disease symptoms

Stroke Prevention

Aspirin: 81 - 325 mg every day
Side effects: excessive bleeding; stomach irritation

Clopidogrel (Plavix®): 75 mg every day
Side effects: stomach irritation; rash; bleeding

Ticlopidine (Ticlid®): 250 mg twice a day. Blood tests required every two weeks for six weeks
Side effects: May cause a decrease in the number of neutrophils - a type of immune cell - in blood

Aspirin and extended-release dipyridamole (Aggrenox®): one capsule twice a day.
Side effects: Stomach irritation; bleeding; rash; flushing; dizziness; chest pain

Miscellaneous

Buspirone (BuSpar®): 10 - 60 mg/day in divided doses
Side effects: dizziness; nausea; headache

Carbamazepine (Tegretol®): 200 ? 800 mg/day in three divided doses
Side effects: confusion, imbalanced gait; nausea; low white blood counts

Cimetidine (Tagamet®): 100 ? 300 mg four times a day
Side effects: headaches; diarrhea

Valproic Acid (Depakote®): 125 - 1500 mg/day in three divided doses or 250 ? 1500 ER mg once a day
Side effects: nausea; sedation; liver toxicity (rare); inflammation of the pancreas

Gabapentin (Neurontin®): 100 ? 600 mg/day in two divided doses
Side effects: sedation; imbalanced gait; confusion

Lamotrigine (Lamictal®): 50 ? 500 mg/day in two divided doses
Side effects: rash; liver or kidney failure; arthritis

Lorazepam (Ativan®): 0.5 - 2 mg every day in divided doses. Use sparingly only for severe agitation.
Side effects: confusion; sedation; uninhibited behavior; abnormal movements; anxiety if taking the drug is stopped

Melatonin: 1 ? 9 mg/day
Side effects: sleepiness

Propranolol (Inderal®): 40 - 320 mg/day
Side effects: slowed heart beat (less than 60 beats/minute); low blood pressure

Zolpidem (Ambien®): 5 - 10 mg at night.
Side effects: daytime drowsiness; dizziness; headache

For more information:

Go to the Alzheimer's Disease health topic, where you can:

This article is a NetWellness exclusive.

Last Reviewed: Apr 06, 2011

Douglas W Scharre, MD Douglas W Scharre, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology
Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University