Young Perspectives for Old Diseases

Current Pharmacological and Non-Pharmacological Therapies for Neurodegenerative Diseases

Author(s): Walter A. S. Moraes

Pp: 23-48 (26)

Doi: 10.2174/9781608059928115010005


Neurodegenerative disorders are an important cause of mortality and morbidity in the elderly. The most common neurodegenerative diseases are Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Lewy body dementia is considered the third most frequent. Much less common are frontotemporal dementia, Huntington's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, progressive supranuclear palsy, spinocerebellar ataxias, Pick disease and prion disease. There is no therapy that is capable to avoid the progression of these disorders. Current pharmacological therapies offer symptomatic benefits with very little impact, if any, in modifying the course of these diseases. Anticholinesterase drugs are the most frequently used to treat Alzheimer's disease. Disease-modifying treatments for Alzheimer's disease are being developed. Levodopa is the most effective pharmacological treatment for Parkinson's disease but in long-term benefit declines. For this reason, association between levodopa and other forms of treatment is the best approach. There is no approved pharmacological treatment for most other forms of neurodegenerative diseases except for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington disease and some forms of cerebellar ataxias.

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