Managing Symptoms of Alzheimer's: the Efficacy of CAM Therapies vs. Pharmacological Interventions
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a growing problem in the United States. In 2020, it is estimated that around 5.8 million Americans, 65 and older, are living with AD. It’s also the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. AD is a degenerative brain disease and the most common cause of dementia (Alzheimers and dementia, 2021). Alzheimer’s currently has no cure, but there are traditional pharmacological medications that are used to treat the symptoms of Alzheimers (Alzheimers and dementia, 2021). Along with prescribed medications, there are now many different complementary and alternative (CAM) therapies that can positively affect longevity, quality of life, and independence in someone afflicted with AD. CAM therapies refer to a variety of different therapies that include herbal remedies, dietary supplements and "medical foods," along with exercise and music therapy, and are promoted as memory enhancers or treatments for Alzheimer’s (Alzheimers and dementia, 2021). The purpose of this Evidenced-Based Practice review is to examine the differences in the health outcomes associated with only using traditional pharmacological interventions compared to CAM, in the treatment of Alzheimers. The outcome for this review is to assist healthcare professionals in gaining insight into new and alternative methods to help prepare them and aid them in the best practices for their patients. Nurses or other healthcare professionals can use this information to explore different alternatives to help manage symptoms that individuals can experience with Alzheimer's and promote better patient outcomes, comfort, and satisfaction.