Treatment and Prognosis for Lewy Body Dementia
There is no cure for Lewy body dementia. Treatments are aimed at controlling the parkinsonian and psychiatric symptoms associated with Lewy body dementia. Patients with Lewy body dementia sometimes respond dramatically to treatment with antiparkinsonian drugs, cholinesterase inhibitors (such as those used to treat symptoms of Alzheimer's disease), or both of these types of drugs. Some examples of medications for Parkinson's disease that may be used for Lewy body dementia include:
- Carbidopa-levodopa (Atamet®, Sinemet®)
- Bromocriptine (Parlodel®)
- Pergolide (Permax®)
- Pramipexole (Mirapex®)
- Ropinirole (Requip®).
However, antiparkinsonian medication that may help to reduce tremor and loss of muscle movement might actually worsen symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions.
Some examples of cholinesterase inhibitor medicines that may be used for Lewy body dementia include:
Some studies indicate that neuroleptic drugs, such as clozapine (FazaClo®) and olanzapine (Zyprexa®), can also reduce the psychiatric symptoms associated with Lewy body dementia. However, because neuroleptic drugs may cause severe adverse reactions, doctors usually try other therapies first. In the event that healthcare providers do recommend neuroleptic drugs, they will typically monitor patients taking such medications closely.
Lewy body dementia is a slowly progressive condition that results in progressive intellectual and functional deterioration. There is no cure, nor are there any known treatments to stop or slow the progression of Lewy body dementia. Patients with Lewy body dementia live an average of seven years after symptoms begin.