Unfortunately none of the current drugs is a cure for dementia, but they can temporarily slow down the progression of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

All these drugs have to be prescribed by consultant therefore it is necessary for the GP to refer a patient to a specialist for assessment for treatment on the NHS. Private prescriptions can be obtained through a consultant, GP or private hospital but the costs are very high and a proper assessment of the person should still be made.

There are four drugs available for use in Alzheimer's disease: Aricept, Exelon and Reminyl are used in people with mild to moderate disease and Ebixa is used for people in the middle to late stages of the disease.

Aricept, Exelon and Reminyl all work in a similar way - by preventing the breakdown of the chemical messenger acetylcholine which is less abundant in Alzheimer's disease. This allows better communication between undamaged brain cells and temporarily stabilises or improves brain function. However, they don't work for everyone and one drug may suit an individual more than another.

Ebixa works in a different way by modulating the levels of certain molecules responsible for the memory and learning processes in the brain.