Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Controlling underlying conditions and risk factors

Controlling conditions that affect the underlying health of your heart and blood vessels can sometimes slow the rate at which vascular dementia gets worse, and may also sometimes prevent further decline. Depending on your individual situation, your doctor may prescribe medications to:

  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Reduce your cholesterol level
  • Prevent your blood from clotting and keep your arteries clear
  • Help control your blood sugar if you have diabetes

Alzheimer's medications

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any drugs specifically to treat changes in judgment, planning, memory and other thought processes caused by vascular dementia. However, certain medications approved by the FDA to treat these symptoms in Alzheimer's disease may also help people with vascular dementia to the same modest extent they help those with Alzheimer's.

Doctors may prescribe one or both types of the following Alzheimer's drugs:

  • Cholinesterase inhibitors — including donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Razadyne) and rivastigmine (Exelon) — work by boosting levels of a brain cell chemical messenger involved in memory and judgment. Side effects can include nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps and diarrhea.
  • Memantine (Namenda) regulates another brain cell chemical messenger important for information processing, storage and retrieval. Side effects can include headache, constipation, confusion and dizziness.
May 02, 2014