Anticholinesterase medication for dementia is prescribed where appropriate.

There are medications available which can help manage symptoms for some types of dementia: these are - donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine and memantine.
After diagnosis, Memory Assessment Service staff, or your GP, will discuss the opportunity to commence dementia treatment with you, and the potential benefits and side effects are discussed in detail. This includes a discussion about when and how to administer the medication.
If you agree to commence dementia treatment there will be a planned follow-up appointment made to review this treatment, which could be with a memory assessment practitioner or your GP.
For extra information, evidence and best practice please scroll down to the bottom of the page.

National offerings

MSNAP Memory Assessment Service Standards

The Royal College of Psychiatrists have a national accreditation programme for Memory Services against key standards. The website outlines the standards and the process.

NICE Dementia Guidance

This guideline brings together all the research and evidence which covers assessment, diagnosis, treatment and support. It is for people at risk of developing dementia, people who are referred for assessment, people living with dementia as well as being for family and friends and health and social care staff and commissioners. It aims to improve care by making recommendations on standards people should expect to receive from their assessment, care and support as well as on training.
We have provided links to the NICE guideline for dementia and a further link is provided to guidance on how to delay or prevent the onset of dementia.
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) NG16 (2015) Dementia, disability and frailty in later life – mid-life approaches to delay or prevent onset:
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) (2019) Dementia: assessment, management and support for people living with dementia and their carers:


Royal College of Psychiatrists MSNAP standards:

  • The service provides, or can signpost/refer on to services that will offer information, advice and support to assess and manage pharmacological treatment.
  • Patients and carers are involved in medication reviews and are included in discussions about purpose, expected outcomes, interactions, limitations and side effects of their medications, to enable them to make an informed choice and to self-manage as far as possible.

NICE (2011) Donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine and memantine for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease:

  • The three acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine as monotherapies are recommended as options for managing mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.
  • The aims of treatment are to promote independence, maintain function and treat symptoms including cognitive, non-cognitive (hallucinations, delusions, anxiety, marked agitation and associated aggressive behaviour), behavioural and psychological symptoms.

    Best Practice Resources

    NHS Dementia Guide, What are the treatments for dementia?: -

    Alzheimer's Society, Drug treatments for Alzheimer's disease: -

    NICE, Donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine and memantine for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease: -

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