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Could paracetamol help to stop my mam from pacing?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by CollegeGirl, Nov 13, 2015.

  1. CollegeGirl

    CollegeGirl Registered User

    Jan 19, 2011
    9,534
    North East England
    Dad's desperate. She just won't sit down. She paces all evening; sometimes she's almost dropping with tiredness and still won't sit down.

    I know that some of you have found that paracetamol has helped with certain types of behaviour such as being agitated or not sleeping properly, but does anyone have any experience of paracetamol helping to curb pacing?
     
  2. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,739
    My Mum used to pace and I discovered that she was in discomfort/pain with a troublesome eye so paracetamol stopped it but that was fairly specific. The trouble is that a lot of our loved ones can't tell us if they are uncomfortable so it's all guesswork, exhausting!!

    This is the alzheimer's fact sheet which might be of some use
    https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=152
     
  3. CollegeGirl

    CollegeGirl Registered User

    Jan 19, 2011
    9,534
    North East England
    Thank you Fizzie - I didn't know there was a fact sheet, will check that out!

    That's what I was thinking, whether mam is in some discomfort or pain that she can't tell us about - although dad says that she does say when she's in pain, but maybe she just can't figure out what's wrong in this case.

    Anyway, I've suggested that, as he's due to ring the CPN on Tuesday anyway, he ask about the paracetamol idea.
     
  4. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,739
    I think that is what happened with mum, she just couldn't work it out but new something was wrong. You could just try two paracetamol one evening just before her 'usual' time. All the evidence is anecdotal i believe but someone else told me that their mum had constipation type pain and so the pacing was quite regular and the paracetamol stopped the pain and stopped the pacing!! I'm sure it is a bit hit and miss but then so is this rotten Dementia!!
     
  5. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013
    1,164
    What other medication is she on?
    FiL was very resistant to sleeping pills, and would not rest, unless the dose was near dangerous, stopping them, made a wonderful change.

    Bod
     
  6. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,623
    USA
    CollegeGirl, it's probably impossible to know, unless you try. I do hear lots of reports from people about the person with dementia pacing/walking a lot and it's just hard to know why.

    My mother did pacing and walking, we think mainly for two reasons: 1) pain from arthritis that was relieved with the movement and 2) anxiety. When we relieved the anxiety and lessened the pain, the pacing mostly stopped, but this also coincided with her going into the care home, so it's hard to know.

    It's worth asking the doctor/nurse about and giving it a try, as long as there's no reason for her NOT to take paracetamol, of course. They should also be aware that the pacing is interfering with her sleep, as well as your dad's sanity, if they don't already know.

    Best wishes to you.
     
  7. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    10,659
    North West
    I don't have chapter and verse to hand but I'm sure there was research which found that giving people with dementia daily paracetamol was more effective in reducing agitation than antipsychotics which can have bad side-effects for some. The supposition was that the agitation was often die to undiagnosed/undisclosed pain
     
  8. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    10,659
    North West
    Many thanks fizzie.:)
     
  9. CeliaW

    CeliaW Registered User

    Jan 29, 2009
    5,655
    Hampshire
    The original article / study related to pain management generally ( http://www.bmj.com/content/343/bmj.d4065)

    " Conclusion A systematic approach to the management of pain significantly reduced agitation in residents of nursing homes with moderate to severe dementia. Effective management of pain can play an important part in the treatment of agitation and could reduce the number of unnecessary prescriptions for psychotropic drugs in this population. "

    The reason I am mentioning this is not to knock paracetamol as I know with Mum and others that it can be beneficial. However, the Nursing Times gave a rather simplistic view and it is apparent that a range of pain relief medications could be looked at.

    Ideal to start with the simplest, paracetamol, but if you are trying to convince the prescribing doctor then reference to this report and the quote from it " Many people with dementia have painful conditions, and it has been proposed that pain in patients with impaired language and abstract thinking may manifest as agitation" may be helpful.

    This is from 2011 and there may be later studies that reinforce it. Good luck CG in getting some solution , the pacing must be so tiring and distressing for both your Mam and Dad. xx
     
  10. CollegeGirl

    CollegeGirl Registered User

    Jan 19, 2011
    9,534
    North East England
    Thank you all for your very helpful and kind replies.

    Dad's going to ask about the paracetamol on Tuesday when he speaks to the CPN. In the meantime he is battling on with a new meds routine ordered by mam's consultant, which doesn't seem to be working and has actually made things, including the pacing, worse. But he feels he has to give it a fair try before starting anything else.

    Thanks again!
     
  11. CollegeGirl

    CollegeGirl Registered User

    Jan 19, 2011
    9,534
    North East England
    Well dad tried the paracetamol on Wednesday evening. It had no effect on the pacing, but seemed to help with sleeping, as they didn't get up until 8 o'clock the following morning (mam has been waking up very early, getting up and refusing to go back to bed, sometimes as early as 4 o'clock). Not sure if that was just coincidence, only time will tell!

    Last night he realised he'd run out of paracetamol so was going to give the Calpol idea a try (suggested on another thread) as he still had some in the cupboard from when I bought for him it a few months ago. I'll find out today whether he managed to get her to take it, and whether it had any effect.

    Fingers crossed. I really want it to work, for both their sakes.
     
  12. CollegeGirl

    CollegeGirl Registered User

    Jan 19, 2011
    9,534
    North East England
    He didn't give mam the calpol last night. He read on the box that paracetamol products are not suitable for long-term use. He is going to talk to one of the GPs at our practice before he decides what to do.
     
  13. lin1

    lin1 Registered User

    Jan 14, 2010
    9,322
    Female
    East Kent
    Hi. Though I'm no medic ,I think the GP will ok it. My mum was on regular paracetamol for a long time.

    I'm glad that paracetamol helped mum to sleep, I hope that your Dad managed to get some strange sleep too
     
  14. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    1,578
    Female
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    #15 Linbrusco, Nov 27, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2015
    My husband takea 2 paracetamol morning and night for his arthritis, and has done for some years. He has regular liver & kidney function tests though, as he is on other heavy duty medication.

    I have been giving Mum 1 paracetamol tablet morning and bed time now for pain releif.
    I have noticed now towards 5pm until bed time, she doesn't exactly pace, but she is up and down out of her chair, and will stand at the kitchen bench. No sooner if you tell her to take a seat, she is up again before long standing at the kitchen bench.
    Will see if I can get her to try paracetamol with her dinner instead to see if it makes any difference.
    She is on a low dose Nortiptyline at bed time for pain/muscle relaxant as well as the paracetamol, and although she goes to sleep quicker she is still up out of bed several times from 3 am onwards. GP does not want to prescribe any sleeping aids.

    College Girl on the advice of the geritrician, Mum was recently taken off her Nortriptyline and given another med. Nortriptyline not entirely compatible with Donepezil. It has an anti cholinergic effect.
    After 4 weeks of hell, constipation, anxiety, not eating etc, I said to Mums GP, that it had worked well for past 2 yrs, I would rather she go back on the Nortriptyline. He agreed.
    It has taken another 4 weeks for her to get back to where she was.
     
  15. CollegeGirl

    CollegeGirl Registered User

    Jan 19, 2011
    9,534
    North East England
    #16 CollegeGirl, Nov 27, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2015
    Hi Lin and Linbrusco - thank you for sharing your experiences and I hope the earlier tablets will work for your mum, Linbrusco. It's all just trial and error, isn't it?

    I know that many people take regular paracetamol for pain relief on a long-term basis and I was so disappointed that dad didn't attempt the calpol last night, and so denied himself - and mam - the possibility of a break from her pacing :(.

    I hope the GP does sanction it (although he already had the go-ahead from mam's CPN).
     
  16. Sue J

    Sue J Registered User

    Dec 9, 2009
    8,041
    Hi CG

    Sorry your Dad's is struggling so, still. I find I often wake in the night and am 'stuck', and can't think to know how to help myself but over time have learnt that if I am with it enough to get something to eat, I usually return to sleep. Bananas work well and I'm convinced it is to do with my brain just not getting enough energy which causes me to wake.

    I am remembering to take paracetamol on a more regular basis and do think it
    is helping.

    Love
    Sue:)
     
  17. CollegeGirl

    CollegeGirl Registered User

    Jan 19, 2011
    9,534
    North East England
    Aw thanks Sue - hope you get a good night's sleep tonight xx
     
  18. Sue J

    Sue J Registered User

    Dec 9, 2009
    8,041
    Thank you CG:)
     
  19. CollegeGirl

    CollegeGirl Registered User

    Jan 19, 2011
    9,534
    North East England
    #20 CollegeGirl, Nov 29, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2015
    Just found out today that dad did in fact give mam some calpol (bit confused as to which night, or whether more than once) and apparently it had an adverse effect when they went to bed - dad's words were 'she went berserk', getting in and out of bed every few seconds for over an hour, although we don't know whether it was just a coincidence. Also, he said she was very strange after taking the calpol (just 5ml) and the carers were worried.

    This has put him off trying paracetamol altogether.

    I just don't know what to suggest anymore as everything I do suggest seems to backfire.

    :(
     

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