"No magic pill" for treating symptoms of Alzheimer's, study finds

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New research concludes that many medications used to treat symptoms of dementia, including agitation and delusions, are not effective.

The research, published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that antidepressants such as Prozac and mood stabilizers such as Tegretol don't work with patients with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

Risperidone and olanzapine were shown to have some effectiveness, but these medications also have an increased risk of stroke, researchers from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, said. They analyzed 29 studies on drugs typically used to manage behavioral problems associated with Alzheimer's.

"Caregivers want a magic pill," says Kaycee Sink, lead author of the paper and geriatric expert at Wake Forest. "What our study showed is that there is no magic pill."

Kaycee suggests the use of pets or music, instead of drugs, to calm agitated patients.