Review Article

CNS Drugs

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 293-307

First online:

Novel Regimens and Delivery Systems in the Pharmacological Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Nazem BassilAffiliated withDivision of Geriatric Medicine, St Louis University Health Sciences Center, St Louis
  • , George T. GrossbergAffiliated withDepartment of Neurology and Psychiatry, St Louis University Health Sciences Center Email author 

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The mainstay of current management of patients with Alzheimer’s disease involves drugs that provide symptomatic therapy. Research approaches for future therapy of Alzheimer’s disease are focusing on disease modifying and/or preventive approaches. Two classes of medications have been approved by the US FDA for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: the cholinesterase inhibitors (tacrine, donepezil, rivastigmine, galantamine), mostly for mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, and the noncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist memantine for the moderate to severe stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Management of comorbid medical problems can be more complex in patients with dementia than in those without dementia. Unfortunately, medication adherence in Alzheimer’s disease is low and good adherence is essential for attempting to slow disease progression and improve or stabilize quality of life. Simplifying treatment regimens and providing more caregiver- and patient-friendly modes of administration that fit in better with daily routines can ease caregiver stress which, in turn, may have a favourable impact on the patient’s condition. To overcome problems of medication adherence in the elderly, simple, user-friendly dosage regimens should be prescribed for all medications; thus the need for novel regimens and delivery systems in the pharmacological treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, such as once-daily done-pezil, memantine and galantamine, and transdermal rivastigmine