People with memory loss experience higher than expected levels of forgetfulness and may have difficulty with short-term and long-term memory. Medications, such as cholinesterase inhibitors and glutamate regulators, can treat memory loss. They can help manage a person’s memory loss symptoms and alter the progression of their condition.
It’s typical for people to have slight memory lapses over time. This is age related and shouldn’t worry you.
However, when memory loss occurs more frequently and affects a person’s daily activities, they should contact a doctor to discuss their symptoms and how their memory loss is affecting them.
This article describes the different medications for memory loss, their indications and their potential side effects.
No drug treatment can effectively cure memory loss. The
However, certain medications can help individuals relieve symptoms and manage disease progression. Health experts recommend that people with memory loss follow only doctor-approved prescriptions.
For most people with memory loss, a doctor will recommend one of the types of medications below. Medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat symptoms of memory loss include:
Acetylcholine is a chemical messenger that plays a vital role in memory and learning.
Here are some examples of cholinesterase inhibitors:
Glutamate is the
Excitotoxic cell death can cause neurodegenerative conditions that affect memory. Glutamate regulators control the amount of glutamate in the central nervous system to an optimal level.
An example of a glutamate regulator is
Doctors may prescribe memantine alone or in combination with a cholinesterase inhibitor due to its minimal side effects.
Drug combination cholinesterase inhibitor and glutamate regulator
This combination of donepezil and Namenda is available under the brand name prescription drug Namzaric.
The researchers note that although it is superior to single drug therapy, it can complicate treatment plans for patients and their caregivers.
Aduhelm is a biological drug composed of living cells. It destroys plaques of the toxic protein known as beta-amyloid. This is the protein that researchers believe plays a role in cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Below is a table of medications for memory loss, including information about medications and side effects.
Several health-related conditions can lead to memory loss. Often these causes
- Alzheimer’s disease: Memory loss is one of the most common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. A person with the disease may have difficulty remembering important information and performing daily tasks.
- Aging: Aging
Can changebrain structures and chemistry, affecting a person’s ability to learn new information and retrieve previously known information. Symptoms of age-related memory loss are usually mild and temporary.
- Medications : Certain medications
can interferewith brain chemistry and lead to short and long term memory loss. However, this often resolves with changes in medication. Examples of drugs that can cause memory loss include psychoactive drugs, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and non-psychoactive drugs. Older adults are also more likely to develop drug-induced cognitive impairment than younger adults. This may be due to drug toxicity due to impaired liver and kidney function.
- Head trauma: Moderate to severe traumatic brain injury caused by sports or accidents can affect both short-term and long-term memory retention.
- Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD): According to a
study 2022heavy drinking or alcohol use disorder (AUD) can cause the loss of brain cells called neurons and lead to cognitive decline.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency: People with vitamin B12 deficiency have a
greater probabilitymemory loss and other cognitive problems. This Perhapsdue to poor myelination – a condition that damages the myelin sheath that covers nerve fibers in the brain.
Research from 2016suggests that stress affects memory in a time-dependent manner. Stress can affect short- and long-term memory formation, the type of memories a person forms, and the ability to recall vital information.
- The Depression: According to a
study 2018,people with one or more symptoms of depression may have memory problems. Another article from 2016 notes that certain antidepressants can cause memory loss.
- Sleep deprivation: People who lack quality sleep
may havememory problems, which can directly affect their daytime activities.
- Other causes: People with certain conditions, such as COVID-19, herpes, HIV, gum disease, Lyme disease, syphilis, urinary tract infections, and chest infections, may have a higher risk neurological complications, including memory loss. Other causes
May includediabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, renal dysfunction, endocrine disorders, cardiovascular diseases and other neurodegenerative conditions. In many cases, treating the underlying infection can resolve the memory loss.
A person should contact a doctor if they have any of these
- get lost in familiar places
- asking the same questions over and over
- have difficulty following instructions and directions
- take much longer to complete daily tasks
- difficulty remembering the names and faces of close friends and family members
- mix up words during conversations
- inability to take care of oneself by eating a nutrient-poor diet, not bathing, and behaving in dangerous ways
Also, a person should talk to a doctor if they experience any side effects from using a prescription medicine for memory loss. The doctor can help develop a plan. They can either reduce the dose or switch to another drug to relieve any worsening of symptoms due to side effects.
Cholinesterase inhibitors and NMDA glutamate regulators can only stop symptoms of memory loss for a short time. However, they cannot stop or reverse disease progression.
Further research can help scientists understand the effectiveness of amyloid removal therapies and generate new drug therapies.
Without medication, symptoms of memory loss can become severe.
Few medications are available to help manage memory loss. The severity of a person’s memory loss and the underlying cause will indicate the most appropriate drug treatment.
Cholinesterase inhibitors are the first choice of treatment for memory loss. The doctor may also prescribe the Namzeric single-dose combination drug to treat moderate to severe memory loss.
If the memory loss is due to a vitamin B12 deficiency, taking the vitamin through diet or a nutritional supplement can help correct the condition. Memory loss due to traumatic brain injury may require surgery.
The doctor will assess a person’s symptoms and determine the best treatment for memory loss.