LBD is a multi-system disease and typically requires a comprehensive treatment approach, meaning a team of physicians from different specialties, who collaborate to provide optimum treatment of each symptom without worsening other LBD symptoms. It is important to remember that some people with LBD are extremely sensitive or may react negatively to certain medications used to treat Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s in addition to certain over-the-counter medications.
Medications called cholinesterase inhibitors are considered the standard treatment for cognitive symptoms in LBD. These medications were developed to treat Alzheimer’s disease. However, some researchers believe that people with LBD may be even more responsive to these types of medications than those with Alzheimer’s.
Movement symptoms may be treated with a Parkinson’s medication called levodopa, but if the symptoms are mild, it may be best to not treat them in order to avoid potential medication side-effects.
If hallucinations are disruptive or upsetting, your physician may recommend a cautious trial of a newer antipsychotic medication. (Please see WARNING below. Of note, the dementia medications called cholinesterase inhibitors have also been shown to be effective in treating hallucinations and other psychiatric symptoms of LBD. For more information on this topic, read LBDA's publication, "Treatment of Behavioral Symptoms: When to Consider Antipsychotic Medications".