The objective of this paper is to review current evidence and treatment patterns for pharmacotherapy in Alzheimer's disease (AD), with an emphasis on outcomes considered important to patients and families. The sources for the information are the peer-reviewed literature, Food and Drug Administration-approved package labeling for acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs), expert opinions expressed at the First Annual Dementia Congress, and clinical experience. Three AChEI agents are in routine use in the United States. They are considered part of the standard of care for patients with mild-to-moderate AD. There are differences in metabolism, pharmacokinetics, side effects, and ease of use that may influence the prescriber's choice of agent and dosage. The three approved agents have similar outcomes in cognition and global clinician ratings of effectiveness in double-blind placebo controlled trials. Persistent therapy with effective doses of AChEIs is associated with reduced risk for, or delayed, nursing home placement, which is a stated priority of AD caregivers. Agents from this class of drugs have also been shown to be associated with statistically significant preservation of daily function and benefits in treatment of adverse behaviors in AD. Numerous additional choices are available to the clinician for pharmacotherapy of adverse behaviors. Community-based psychoeducational support is also of value to caregivers.