Wattis, John and Curran, Stephen (2006) Advances in Alzheimer's disease. Dispensing Doctor, 22 (1). pp. 17-19.

The proportion of older people (65 years or older) in the UK population is gradually rising and is currently estimated to be 15 per cent. This is expected to continue to rise and by 2025, the number aged 85 years or more is set to increase by at least 50 per cent1. This is the very age group most at risk of dementia, principally of the Alzheimer’s type. The prevalence of dementia increases from approximately 0.7 per cent in those aged 60 to 64 years and doubles every five years, reaching nearly 40 per cent in those aged 90 to 95 years2.

The introduction of cholinesterase inhibitors to the NHS five years ago provided an opportunity to prescribe medication targeted at the core symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) for the first time. The treatment of older people with mental illness invariably needs an integrated approach with pharmacological, social and psychological approaches working together3,4. However, this paper will focus mainly on the pharmacological approaches