Complete Guide: The Best Prescription Medicine for Memory Loss
If you’re suffering from memory loss, dementia medication or memory medication can help you regain confidence, normalcy, and a heightened quality of life. Watching yourself or a loved one struggle to remember names, appointments, or other vital information can be heartbreaking and logistically frustrating.
That is, at a price.
If your doctor has assessed your memory loss, determined the underlying cause, and recommended a dementia medication to help you thrive, you must be able to access and afford that medication. Here, we’ll provide the information you need to navigate the world of memory medications (and, ideally, save a little money, too).
How Dementia Medications and Memory Medications Work
Before discussing specific medications you can try, it’s time to discuss the types of conditions these medications treat.
Memory Loss vs. Age-Related Memory Lapses
Although it’s understandably concerning, it’s important to realize that some level of memory loss is normal. As we age, mild memory lapses will become more common.
For example, if you or your aging loved one occasionally misplaces keys or needs help remembering a detail of a conversation, this may not be a reason to worry. These types of more minor lapses are usually temporary, and do not present a significant obstacle to living life normally.
On the other hand, significant memory loss can be much more complex to explain (and more challenging to live with).
This type of memory loss may involve forgetting genuinely important information, such as the names of family members and frequently visited places. This can make driving, following basic instructions, and managing finances risky and relatively challenging.
If it helps, here’s a quick guide to distinguish between age-related mild memory lapses and signs of more serious memory loss indicating that, perhaps, you should speak to a doctor:
Common memory lapses that come with age
- Forgetting an acquaintance’s name
- Misplacing glasses or keys
- Forgetting specific, small details from previous conversations
- Taking a little longer to learn or retain new information
- Forgetting previously made commitments or appointments
Signs that you should talk to a doctor about memory loss
- Forgetting more critical information about yourself or loved ones
- Getting lost in places that you should be very familiar with
- Having difficulty following simple or familiar instructions
- Requiring help with routine, frequently performed tasks (like dressing and eating)
- Experiencing changes in your personality or your mood
If you realize that you are experiencing any of the above signs or you see these signs in an aging loved one, please speak to a doctor. They will be able to perform tests and assessments that can help you determine whether you are dealing with a memory impairment or relatively expected memory loss.
What Are the Main Causes of Memory Loss?
Memory loss can occur for several reasons. Some of the more common factors include:
- Alzheimer’s disease. This is a progressive, neurodegenerative disorder that can cause cognitive decline and accompanying behavioral changes.
- Dementia. Dementia is the general category of diseases or disorders that cause cognitive decline. Alzheimer’s is an example, but there are other types, too.
- Stroke. Strokes happen when the brain’s blood supply is interrupted, and the brain gets damaged as a result.
There are other possible causes of memory loss outside of these three most common triggers. These may include brain tumors, side effects of potent medications, infections, vitamin deficiencies, or head injuries.
If your doctor has identified that your loved one’s memory loss is because of dementia, they may recommend memory medication to help your loved one restore as much brain function as possible.
Important Factors When Choosing Memory Loss Medications
If you’re in a place where you’re assessing memory loss medications, you should be aware of the different factors between your options. Here’s what we’d recommend focusing on:
The effectiveness of your chosen dementia medication. This may sound like an obvious consideration, but different types of memory medications work in different ways. You’ll need to work closely with your doctor to select an option that is as effective as possible in treating the underlying cause of your memory loss.
The side effects of your chosen dementia medication. As much as possible, you’ll want to make sure that the side effects of your medication don’t outweigh the potential benefits. For example, many dementia or memory medications can cause nausea, loss of appetite, confusion, insomnia, dizziness, or muscle cramps (in addition to other possible effects).
If your doctor recommends a specific medication, ask about the expected side effects, and then watch your loved one (or monitor your own side effects) closely. The side effects should taper off with time, but if there are any that are disruptive to your quality of life, let your doctor know.
The cost of your chosen dementia medication. Unfortunately, many of the most effective memory medications are extremely expensive—which may make you feel like you’re being forced to choose between financial stability and more time with your loved one! At NorthWestPharmacy.com, it’s our goal to help you get through those decisions as successfully as possible by providing reliably low-cost prescription medications through our discount online pharmacy website.
Ultimately, there isn’t any 100% effective, one-size-fits-all approach to treating memory loss.
Your doctor will assess your situation, your symptoms, and the possible side effects before recommending options. If you’re looking for additional guidance before making a selection, talk to other people in your life who are experiencing memory loss and taking medication to see what works for them, but remember that your ideal medication may be specific to you.
After you’ve chosen a memory medication, work closely with your healthcare professional to monitor your progress and keep tabs on your side effects. If you don’t see progress or encounter less-than-ideal side effects, your healthcare professional may recommend an alternate medication or another way to manage your dose.
Two Popular Options for Effective Memory Medications
Two of the most common prescription dementia medications we see doctors recommend are Exelon and Aricept. Here’s a little more information about each so you can go into your appointment ready to make an informed decision about your care.
Exelon (rivastigmine) is a prescription medication that can help reduce symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia (such as Parkinson’s disease). It functions as a cholinesterase inhibitor—which means that it inhibits a substance called cholinesterase.
This results in more levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, in the brain. Acetylcholine helps the brain’s memory and cognitive functions. With more acetylcholine, you may experience fewer memory lapses.
Exelon has been shown to reduce behavioral symptoms in patients who have either mild or moderate dementia, but it does come with side effects ranging from fatigue to dizziness, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and nausea.
In rare cases, Exelon has been associated with seizures, bradycardia, liver problems, and allergic reactions. These are less things to expect and more things to be aware of. If you do experience any of these more serious side effects, contact your doctor at once.
To reduce your likelihood of experiencing severe side effects, your doctor will likely start you on a low dose of Exelon, monitor you closely, and gradually increase your dose to your ideal.
How Much Does Exelon Cost?
One box of 30 24-hour long transdermal patches of Exelon can cost as much as $750.00 in the United States.
Now, insurance may cover some of that. (It also might not.) Regardless, that’s a pretty penny: Treating a loved one’s dementia with Exelon can cost as much as $9,000.00 per year, for just one prescription medication, for American patients.
If you want to explore alternative options, consider buying your Exelon through an online Canadian drugs store or international pharmacy website. Here at NorthWestPharmacy.com, you can buy 28 pills of brand-name Exelon for about $85.00, or $3.00 per twice-daily pill (and about $6.00 per day—a savings of up to 75%).
Aricept (donepezil) is, like Exelon, a cholinesterase inhibitor. It also helps increase the levels of acetylcholine in your brain, which, in turn, can help boost cognitive function and reduce memory issues.
Doctors may prescribe Aricept to treat mild to moderate dementia. If you or your loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Aricept may be an option to consider.
If you do decide to take Aricept, you should be aware of the side effects that could come with it. These effects can include fatigue, muscle cramps, headache, diarrhea, insomnia, and vomiting. You may experience fainting, liver problems, and allergic reactions in some serious cases. If you do start to suffer these side effects, it’s a good idea to call your doctor. They may decide to modulate your dose or select another medication.
To help combat these side effects, your doctor will probably start you on a lower dose and increase your dosage over time.
Aricept is a safe, well-tolerated option, but you will want to monitor your side effects as you start up the drug, just to make sure that you specifically tolerate it well, and that Aricept works well with any other medications you may be taking.
How Much Does Aricept Cost?
In America, memory loss patients can buy 30 pills of brand Aricept for about $570.00, or $19.00 per pill. That may not be as much as Exelon, but it’s still a considerable amount of money, especially if you’ll be taking Aricept on a regular basis.
Interested in ways you can save on brand-name Aricept? You can buy 28 pills of Aricept through NorthWestPharmacy.com for about $74.00, or about $2.60 per pill–-savings of up to 86%.
Comparing Exelon and Aricept: Which Memory Medication is Best for You?
Exelon and Aricept may seem to be relatively similar memory medications, but there’s a good chance one will work better for you. Your doctor will assess your unique situation and the specific ways that each drug works before recommending one for you.
Interested in comparing these medications for yourself? Here’s a little more information about each drug.
- Their mechanism of action, or how they each work, is slightly different. Exelon inhibits a couple of different enzymes: Acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase. Each of these enzymes works by breaking down acetylcholine, so reducing them will boost acetylcholine. Aricept only inhibits acetylcholinesterase.
- As far as their side effects go, it seems that, anecdotally, Aricept may be more likely to cause insomnia, and Exelon may be more likely to cause gastrointestinal issues, but their side effect profiles are relatively similar.
- The forms they’re available in differ. Exelon is available in oral pill form and as a transdermal patch. Aricept is available as an oral pill and an oral solution. However, the availability of each of these forms will depend on the pharmacy, so, that’s something to consider if you’re searching for one form over another.
- While both medications can be taken with or without food, Exelon is generally a twice-a-day medication, where Aricept is usually only taken once daily.
Looking for a Lower-Cost Way to Buy Dementia Medication?
If you’re seeking reliably affordable Alzheimer’s drugs, one way to find what you seek is by purchasing your medication internationally, buy Canadian prescription drugs or international medications .
However, we get it: Getting your prescriptions shipped from Canada (or elsewhere) to the US can initially seem like a completely overwhelming endeavor.
It doesn't have to be. At NorthWestPharmacy.com, we make it easy for our customers to get the medication they need at affordable prices.
Here's a step-by-step guide on how to get started:
- Visit our website and browse our extensive catalog of prescription medications.
- Find the medication you need and add it to your cart.
- Review your order and checkout.
- Send the prescription from your doctor to us or we can call them to request one.
- We'll ship your medication directly to your door.
Ready to get started? Give our friendly team of customer service representatives a call at 1.866.539.5330, or check out our thousands of satisfied online pharmacy customer reviews on Trustpilot and hundreds of thousands more Canadian pharmacy reviews on ShopperApproved to see exactly what it’s like to buy medications for less through NorthWestPharmacy.com.