Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized in the brain by the deposition of amyloid protein outside the neuron, resulting in the formation of plaques, and inside the neuron-with neurofibrillary tangles. It is not yet known what causes these pathologic changes, although age and genetics are major risk factors. The cholinesterase inhibitors tacrine and donepezil block acetyl- cholinesterase and therefore preserve the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Three other investigational cholinesterase inhibitors are rivastigmine, metrifonate, and galanthamine. Existing therapies being studied for use in AD include vitamin E, estrogen preparations, and anti-inflammatory agents. The physician's role is to care for both the AD patient and the family, which are profoundly affected by this disease.
|Number of pages||6|
|State||Published - Feb 1999|