Alternate Names : Amnesia
What are the treatments for the symptom?
There are several steps a person can take to improve his or her memory. These
following a regular routine when possible
setting up a reminder system. This may include a book, calendar, or
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
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
needed. Other side effects may include
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
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
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
taking one of the medications that can cause liver damage. Any new or worsening
symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.