Pharmacology Update: Pharmacologic Management of Alzheimer Disease
Dementia is a major public health problem now estimated to affect about 5.1 million older adults in the United States and about 15 million worldwide. It is expected that there will be 13 million patients diagnosed with Alzheimer disease (AD) by the year 2050. The Alzheimer's Association anticipates that about 50% of adults older than 85 years of age will have a memory disorder, the largest percentage of those having AD (Alzheimer's Association, 2007). As the number of adults with memory disorders grows, so does the burden of caring for them, in terms of both the dollars spent on nursing facilities and the physical and psychological toll on family caregivers while the patient is still at home. This article reviews the pathophysiology of AD and describes the drug treatment options that are currently available. It is important to note that these drugs are not a cure but are aimed at slowing functional decline in AD patients.
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