Brain Neurorehabil.  2015 Mar;8(1):19-23. 10.12786/bn.2015.8.1.19.

Pharmacological Treatment of Dementia

  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Korea.


Pharmacological interventions are critical in dementia treatment to prevent disease progression. In this review, we aim to summarize and discuss about the current developments and recommendations in the pharmacological treatment of dementia. Cholinesterase inhibitors have demonstrated efficacy for Alzheimer's disease, mixed pathology with vascular dementia and Parkinson's disease dementia. The comparison study revealed no difference between each cholinesterase inhibitors. A high incidence of side effects of cholinesterase inhibitors could lower compliance. In this case, changing to the other drug or trying a transdermal type could be the solution. Memantine, a N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist, has proven to improve function at moderate to severe dementia and for dementia with Lewy body. But there are still insufficient evidences for the combination of a cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine. Discontinuing medicine in moderate to severe dementia may lead to worsening of cognitive function. For this reason, improving patients' compliance is important and for drug selection we should consider the type of dementia, severity of cognitive impairment and side effects of each medicine. Noncognitive symptoms, behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are common and can dominate disease presentation. For depression, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors could be effective. Atypical antipsychotics could be used for other neuropsychological symptoms such as agitation, aggression, delusions and hallucinations.


alzheimer disease; cholinesterase inhibitors; dementia; vascular dementia
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