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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Medical Symptoms > Memory Loss: Treatment & Monitoring

Memory Loss

Alternate Names : Amnesia

Memory Loss | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the symptom?

There are several steps a person can take to improve his or her memory. These include:

  • following a regular routine when possible
  • setting up a reminder system. This may include a book, calendar, or pocket diary.
  • making daily lists
  • keeping track of daily medications. This can be done with a medication reminder box or a chart posted on the refrigerator.
  • keeping track of appointments, birthdays, and bills to pay
  • keeping a list of names and telephone numbers
  • keeping keys in the same place
  • The 3 medications currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of Alzheimer's disease are donepezil, tacrine, and rivastigmine. These medications are designed to improve memory by increasing the amount of acetylcholine in the body.

    Other medications, such as risperidone or quetiapine, may also be used to help behavioral problems such as hallucinations, delusions, or agitation. Some individuals with memory loss may also need medications for depression, anxiety, or insomnia.

    Other treatments include support and education for those caring for people with memory loss. Individual and family counseling can be beneficial. It's also been found that support groups assist caregivers. As the memory loss progresses, many families are unable to care for the person at home, and placement in a special facility becomes necessary.

    What are the side effects of the treatments?

    Medications used to treat memory loss can damage the liver, so periodic liver function tests are needed. Other side effects may include nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, vomiting, fatigue, or muscle cramps.

    What happens after treatment for the symptom?

    In most cases, memory loss is a degenerative condition without a cure. Treatment is lifelong. Because the course of memory loss is unpredictable, individuals with the condition should make plans for end-of-life care while they are still able to participate in the decision-making process.

    Difficult issues that family members may face include:

  • promoting independence while making sure the individual is safe
  • removing driving privileges
  • finding supportive care among family or in an assisted living facility or nursing home
  • making business decisions
  • determining executors of written wills and making sure advanced directives are in the individual's patient file at his or her doctor's office
  • How is the symptom monitored?

    Individuals with memory loss will have periodic visits to the healthcare provider for evaluation and treatment. Periodic liver function tests may be ordered if the person is taking one of the medications that can cause liver damage. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.

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    Memory Loss: Prevention & Expectations


    Author: Ann Reyes, Ph.D.
    Reviewer: Barbara Mallari, RN, BSN, PHN
    Date Reviewed: 07/13/01

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