Alternative medicine and Alzheimer disease.

Abstract

BACKGROUND Complimentary and alternative medicine has an extensive worldwide history and is commonly used by older patients. A number of different alternative medicines are used by patients having Alzheimer disease. It is both desirable and expected for clinicians to be acquainted with these medications. REVIEW SUMMARY This paper discusses the available clinical trial evidence regarding 8 agents commonly used by people having Alzheimer disease. We provide an overview of the history and basic scientific evidence available for each agent, followed by a critical analysis of the evidence available from clinical trials, including the number of participants, trial duration, and specific outcomes evaluated. CONCLUSION Although many of these compounds have been associated with interesting basic science, none has shown clear clinical benefit to date. Data available for some, such as Ginkgo biloba, curcumin, and huperzine A, suggest that further evaluation is warranted. Familiarity with this literature will allow clinicians to provide meaningful recommendations to patients who wish to use these agents.

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