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3.2 Medications

Medications may help with memory and thinking difficulties.

In Canada there are four approved medications for dementia. Donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Reminyl), and rivastigmine (Exelon) are approved for people with mild–to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, while memantine (Ebixa), is approved for people with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease.  

Some medications may be covered by insurance in your province or territory, while others may not. 

These medications work by increasing or balancing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain that are responsible transmitting memory between brain cells. In some people with Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia, these medications have been shown to improve or maintain memory and thinking for about a year. However, like all medications there are side effects. You can read more about these medications and their side effects here. If the person you’re caring for is interested, make an appointment with a family doctor or nurse practitioner to discuss whether these medications would work for them. 

Ask your doctor

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