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Treatment

There's currently no cure for dementia with Lewy bodies, but there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms.

Care plans

Before treatment starts, your current and future health and social care needs will be assessed and a care plan drawn up.

This is a way of ensuring you receive the right treatment for your needs. It involves identifying areas where you may need some assistance, such as:

Read more about care plans.

Medication

Medication can't stop dementia with Lewy bodies getting worse, but for some people it can help reduce some of the symptoms.

Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors

Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors, such as donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon) and galantamine (Reminyl), may help improve hallucinations, confusion and sleepiness in some people.

These work by increasing levels of a chemical called acetylcholine in the brain, which improves the ability of the brain cells to send signals to each other.

Common side effects include feeling and being sick, diarrhoea, headaches, tiredness and muscle cramps.

Memantine

This medicine is not an AChE inhibitor. It works by blocking the effects of an excessive amount of a chemical in the brain called glutamate.

Memantine is used for moderate or severe dementia with Lewy bodies. It's suitable for those who cannot take or are unable to tolerate AChE inhibitors.

Side effects can include headaches, dizziness and constipation, but these are usually only temporary.

For more information about the possible side effects of your specific medication, read the patient information leaflet that comes with it and speak to your doctor.

Other medications

Other medications that may help control some of the symptoms of dementia with Lewy bodies include:

Support and other therapies

In addition to medication, there are a number of therapies and practical measures that can help make everyday living easier for someone with dementia.

These include:

It may also be helpful to get in touch with a support group, such as The Lewy Body Society, the Alzheimer's Society or Dementia UK.

Read more about living well with dementia.

End of life and legal issues

If you've been diagnosed with dementia, you might want to make arrangements for your care that take into account the decline in your mental abilities.

This may include ensuring that your wishes are upheld if you're not able to make decisions for yourself.

You may want to consider:

Read more about managing legal affairs for someone with dementia and end of life planning.

Help and advice for carers

If you care for someone with dementia, you may find it helpful to read more about: