Currently, no mild cognitive impairment (MCI) drugs or other treatments are specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, MCI is an active area of research. Clinical studies are underway to shed more light on the disorder and find treatments that may improve symptoms or prevent or delay progression to dementia.
Doctors sometimes prescribe cholinesterase inhibitors, a type of drug approved for Alzheimer's disease, for people with MCI whose main symptom is memory loss. However, cholinesterase inhibitors aren't recommended for routine treatment of MCI.
Treating other conditions that can affect mental function
Other common conditions besides MCI can make you feel forgetful or less mentally sharp than usual. Treating these conditions can help improve your memory and overall mental function. Conditions that can affect memory include:
- High blood pressure. People with MCI tend to be more likely to have problems with the blood vessels inside their brains. High blood pressure can worsen these problems and cause memory difficulties. Your doctor will monitor your blood pressure and recommend steps to lower it if it's too high.
- Depression. When you're depressed, you often feel forgetful and mentally "foggy." Depression is common in people with MCI. Treating depression may help improve memory, while making it easier to cope with the changes in your life.
- Sleep apnea. In this condition, your breathing repeatedly stops and starts while you're asleep, making it difficult to get a good night's rest. Sleep apnea can make you feel excessively tired during the day, forgetful and unable to concentrate. Treatment can improve these symptoms and restore alertness.
Some supplements — including vitamin E, ginkgo and others — have been purported to help prevent or delay the progression of mild cognitive impairment. However, no supplement has shown any benefit in a clinical trial.