Altoida Celebrates Historic Day for Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease

Current Approaches for the Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease

October 27, 2022Neelem Sheikh

Alzheimer’s is a highly complex disease and its pathology and disease mechanisms can affect each individual uniquely. Consequently, it is likely that there may not be one single drug, therapy, or intervention that will “cure” Alzheimer’s disease. Rather, effective treatment of Alzheimer’s disease will rely on a combination of multiple effective therapies targeting different pathological mechanisms—and we are already seeing great strides in this direction.

Currently, there is a range of drugs, therapies, and lifestyle interventions that can be used to manage the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as a recently-approved drug that aims to modify the disease course.

In this article, we will provide an overview of the current approaches for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease: Drugs

There are several U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved prescription drugs that are used to help patients cope with symptoms and maintain quality of life. The drugs prescribed to Alzheimer’s disease patients typically vary depending on where they lie in the disease continuum and what symptoms are present. 

In the mild to moderate stages of Alzheimer’s disease, cholinesterase inhibitors are commonly prescribed to treat cognitive symptoms, such as issues with memory, language, thinking, and judgment. In the moderate to severe stages of Alzheimer’s disease, glutamate regulators are often prescribed to decrease symptoms and improve cognitive functions such as memory, language, reason, and attention.

Cholinesterase inhibitors work by preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter important for learning and memory). Glutamate regulators work by regulating the activation of glutamate (a neurotransmitter important for synaptic plasticity and survival of neurons) and blocking the toxic effects of excessive glutamate. Cholinesterase inhibitors and glutamate regulators can also be used in combination in some cases (Namzaric).

On June 7, 2021, Aducanumab (ADUHELM™) received accelerated approval by the FDA for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. It is the first FDA-approved treatment for Alzheimer’s to enter the market since 2003 and is the first in the monoclonal antibody therapy class. Aducanumab aims to address the biological aspects of the disease by targeting and reducing beta-amyloid plaques, a neuropathological hallmark of Alzheimer’s.

Drug Name

Drug Type

Approved Uses

Delivery Methods
Donepezil (Aricept)Cholinesterase inhibitorAll stages of Alzheimer’s disease (mild, moderate, and severe)TabletOrally disintegrating tablet 
Rivastigmine (Exelon)Cholinesterase inhibitorMild to moderate Alzheimer’s diseaseCapsulePatch
Galantamine (Razadyne)Cholinesterase inhibitorMild to moderate Alzheimer’s diseaseTabletExtended-release capsule
Memantine (Namenda)Glutamate regulator/N-methyl D-aspartate antagonistModerate to severe Alzheimer’s diseaseTabletOral solutionExtended-release capsule
Aducanumab (ADUHELM™)Disease-modifying immunotherapyMild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer’s diseaseIntravenous 

Additional medications may be prescribed depending on what behavioral and psychological symptoms are present. These medications can address symptoms such as sleeping difficulties, anxiety, depression, agitation, hallucinations, and delusions. Oftentimes, non-drug interventions to manage these symptoms are the first line of defense.

(embed podcast here, “Treatment for Alzheimer's Disease (Part 2) Medicine and Rehabilitation”)

Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease: Therapies and Lifestyle Interventions

In addition to medications, treatment of Alzheimer’s disease may involve adjunct therapies, such as those detailed below:

  • Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST): CST is a short-term, evidence-based intervention program for patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease (or mild to moderate dementia due to other causes). CST involves a series of themed activities designed to actively stimulate and engage patients socially and mentally. 
  • Reminiscence Therapy: Reminiscence therapy integrates the use of the five senses—sight, touch, taste, smell, and sound—to help Alzheimer’s patients recall specific positive memories. The overarching school of thought for this approach lies in the idea that if a patient engages in activities that evoke memories, it may wake up certain neural connections and reactivate dead parts—like jumper cables for the brain.
  • Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapy helps Alzheimer’s and dementia patients maintain their quality of life and remain as independent as possible through specific intervention strategies. Types of occupational therapy include health promotion, remediation, maintenance, and modification.

Effective treatment and management of Alzheimer’s disease require a well-rounded approach. Lifestyle interventions often play an essential role in preserving the overall health and well-being of Alzheimer’s patients and can help manage behavioral and psychological symptoms. Lifestyle interventions may include routine exercise, weight management, diet and nutrition, social and mental stimulation, stress reduction, and sleep hygiene.

Monitoring the Effects of Treatment in Alzheimer’s Patients

Regardless of the drugs, therapies, or lifestyle interventions involved in a patient’s treatment and management plan, healthcare providers and caregivers should consider monitoring the neurocognitive effects of treatment. Routine neurocognitive assessments can not only provide insight into how well the treatment plan is working but can also further inform care needs and identify patients who may be at risk of falls to prevent serious injury.

Monitoring Therapeutic Response Through Precision Neurology

At Altoida, we are building the world’s-first Precision Neurology platform and app-based medical device—backed by 11 years of clinical validation—to accelerate and improve drug development, neurological disease research, and patient care.

By completing a 10-minute series of augmented reality and motor activities designed to simulate complex Activities of Daily Living on a smartphone or tablet, Altoida’s device extracts and provides robust measurements of neurocognitive function across 13 neurocognitive domains. Our device measures and analyzes nearly 800 multimodal cognitive and functional digital biomarkers. Through the collection of highly granular data from integrated smartphone or tablet sensors, Altoida’s device produces comprehensive neurocognitive domain scores. 

Our technology can be utilized to monitor disease progression as well as to measure therapeutic response in Alzheimer’s disease patients. 

To learn more about how Alzheimer’s disease is treated, listen to our podcast titled, Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease (Part 2): Medication and Rehabilitation Therapies.

To learn more about the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, or about using Altoida’s Precision Neurology platform to monitor therapeutic response, contact us today.

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At Altoida, we use digital biomarkers to radically change the method of assessing brain health and cognitive diseases. After nearly two decades of research, we are developing a platform and device to measure and analyze cognitive biomarkers associated with cognitive impairment to evaluate perceptual and memory function.
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