This is the conclusion of the series on articles about Alzheimer's Disease.

Although there is currently no way to cure Alzheimer's disease or stop its progression, researchers are making encouraging advances
in Alzheimer's treatment, including medications and non-drug approaches to
improve symptom management. When physicians develop treatment plans, they
often consider cognitive and behavioral symptoms separately.

Cognitive Symptoms
Cognitive symptoms include problems with thought processes like memory, language, and judgment. Two kinds of medications have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer's disease:

Cholinesterase inhibitors postpone the worsening of symptoms for 6 to 12
months in about half of the people who take it.
Namenda (memantine) is used to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease and may delay the worsening of symptoms in some people.

Cholinesterase inhibitors can be started as soon as Alzheimer's symptoms
appear -- in fact, they are most effective in the early stages of the
disease. When a physician determines that the cholinesterase inhibitor is no
longer effective, he or she often recommends tapering off the cholinesterase
inhibitor and introducing memantine. Sometimes, memantine and a
cholinesterase inhibitor are taken simultaneously during the moderate stage
of the disease.

Behavioral Symptoms
Often the most challenging for caregivers, behavioral symptoms
include agitation; suspicion, and depression. Although caregivers often take personally the behaviors exhibited toward them, it's important to remember that behavioral symptoms are just as much a result of damage to brain cells as are cognitive symptoms.

Some medications are useful for managing behavioral symptoms. However, the
risk of drug reactions and/or interactions runs high among those with
Alzheimer's, so caution should be used when medications are prescribed to
deal with behavioral issues. A combination of drug and non-drug treatments
often works best.

Non-drug treatments involve analyzing the behavior, identifying what may
have triggered it, and devising an approach that either changes the person's
environment or the caregiver's reaction to the behavior.

While physicians are skilled at prescribing medications to treat behavioral
symptoms, they may not be familiar with non-drug interventions. Most
caregivers learn about behavior management through their own research and by connecting with other caregivers through support groups and online support networks.