Treatment methods

Remain independent for as long as possible

According to current scientific understanding, Alzheimer's disease cannot be cured. Early treatment, however, may help to slow down the deterioration in mental capacity, encourage existing skills and provide relatives who are looking after you with advice and help for everyday situations. Our treatment at Schoen Clinic is aimed at helping you to stay in your familiar surroundings for as long as possible. Medication also has an important role to play, and this should be started as early on as possible.

Conservative treatment methods

Drug therapy

Shortage of messenger substances
As the disease progresses, it is primarily nerve cells that work with the messenger substance acetylcholine that die off. This substance is involved with learning processes and the ability to pay attention. If there is a shortage of acetylcholine, electrical impulses between certain nerve cells are no longer transmitted correctly. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, as they are known, allow the messenger substance to be available in more quantities again in the brain. This means that it can also improve the transfer of information. In mild to moderate cases, this can have a positive impact on everyday skills. Its use in people with severe liver disease or heart rhythm disturbances, however, must be carefully monitored.

Excess messenger substances
Glutamate is also a messenger substance. It is used by cells during learning processes. Alzheimer's patients have too much glutamate, damaging the nerve cells and causing them to die. The active ingredient Memantine is designed to prevent this. Its use must be monitored very carefully in patients with renal impairment.

Psychotropic drugs in advanced stages
If the disease is already well advanced, the primary aim is to treat the typical symptoms of the condition with various psychotropic drugs.

Anti-depressants, such as Citalopram and Sertraline, have an activating effect, are well tolerated and have only a few interactions with other medications.

Where there are behavioural disorders, agitation, aggression and hallucinations, modern anti-psychotic drugs (neuroleptics) are used. If these are taken over a prolonged period of time, however, other problems can occur. Therefore, in consultation with the doctor, attempts should be made after a few weeks to reduce the dose or discontinue the medication altogether.

Intensive support from relatives or institutions

Alongside drug-based Alzheimer's treatment, close support from relatives or care institutions is also needed. In special facilities, as well as day care, individual and group therapies are available that encourage residual abilities and which also offer therapeutic support for relatives. Many Alzheimer's patients also find interacting with pets very positive.