Medical Matters > Treatments: Alzheimer’s medication

ME Essential Spring 2024


A vast amount of money is being spent on research into Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. This has resulted in significant progress being made in finding both the cause and effective forms of treatment for dementia.

Now that there are drugs available that can help to slow down the progress of memory decline in Alzheimer’s disease could some of these drugs also be helpful for treating cognitive dysfunction in both ME and Long Covid?


You raise a very valid point and, although we don’t yet have any information from clinical trials involving these sort of drugs in ME/CFS, we do have results from one small clinical trial in Long Covid for a drug that is used in Alzheimer’s disease.

The drug is called Donepezil Hydrochloride and it has been shown to slow down the progress of memory decline in Alzheimer’s disease.

Unfortunately, the results from the Long Covid trial were disappointing.

This is not surprising given the fact that memory decline in dementia does not normally involve the same sort of problems with short term working memory and attention span that occurs in ME/CFS and Long Covid. In addition, the underlying cause of many cases of dementia – which involves the progressive build up of harmful amyloid plaques that replace normal brain tissue – is almost certainly different to the cause of the very acute onset of cognitive dysfunction in ME/CFS and Long Covid.

So in our current state of knowledge it seems unlikely that drugs that are being used to slow down memory decline in Alzheimer’s disease, or even preventing it occurring, are going to be helpful for treating cognitive dysfunction (‘brain fog’) in ME/CFS and Long Covid.

Clinical trial reference:


Information provided by The ME Association should not be construed as medical advice. Don't assume any new or worsened symptoms are simply the result of having ME/CFS or Long Covid. We recommend that any information you deem relevant is discussed with your NHS GP as soon as possible. It is important that you seek personalised medical advice from the GP who is in charge of your care and who knows you well.

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