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Discontinuation of donepezil and memantine

Lamppost#4

New member
Jul 19, 2020
1
Hi, my Mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014 and has been taking donepezil for over 5 years. She started Memantine 2 years ago. I’m just not sure she is benefitting from either of the drugs any more and wonder if anyone has any experience of weaning their loved ones off these drugs please?
 

karaokePete

Registered User
Jul 23, 2017
5,634
N Ireland
Hello and welcome @Lamppost#4.

I do know from the time of my wife's last check at the memory clinic that the medics do consider taking a person off these meds if they feel that they aren't providing any benefit.

The only advice I would give is not to do anything without discussing intentions with the medics.
 

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
16,657
66
Toronto, Canada
The problem with discontinuing AD meds is that it is possible that the PWD may suffer a rapid decline if taken off them. This happened to a friend's mother when the mother's partner had her AD medication discontinued. She was put back on the meds after a month and a half of decline. She stabilized but she did not go back to where she had been prior to being taken off the meds.

My sister and I decided Mum would be kept on the meds as long as she was physically able to take them.

Please discuss this step with her physician before coming to a decision.
 

MaNaAk

Registered User
Jun 19, 2016
2,536
Essex
Dear @Lamppost#4,

Welcome to the forum. Some time someone posted a thread about a GP taking their loved one off donepezil and in their words the effect was like a waterfall
and they had to go straight back on as has been said you may not be able to get your PWD back to where they were before.

MaNaAk
 

Izzy

Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
62,805
69
Dundee
My husband was on Donepezil for around 10 years. The memory clinic then said they thought it was no longer having any effect. He was moved from that to Memantine. I found he was too sleepy on that and I asked them to discontinue it. I didn’t experience a quick decline in my husband after he stopped taking the drugs. To be honest, after almost 15 years I think the drugs had done as much as they could do. His decline was gradual but steady after coming off Memantine.
 

Woo2

Registered User
Apr 30, 2019
2,653
South East
My PWD was taken off Memantine after 21/2 years as it was thought it had little positive effect but wow the decline was almost immediate , quickly reinstated and stabilised again but not to where they were before .
 

prittlewell

Registered User
Jan 28, 2020
33
I appreciate this is an oldish thread.....and I am going to sound harsh when I say this, but why would you want to slower the rate of decline? I can obviously understand it in the early stages as you want to keep the ‘person’ as long as possible, but once that person ‘no longer exists’ ?
Mum has no real quality of life, does not know who we are, and she would not want to exist in this state. I am not sure I can see the logic in maintaining her at this state by continuing the dementia Meds......
I would not want to prolong my existence if I was in that state.......
 

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
16,657
66
Toronto, Canada
@prittlewell I think it is a hard and very personal decision. As far as I understand it, the AD drugs do not slow the rate of decline. What they do is ease symptoms or slow down symptoms. Underneath, the disease is progressing. For my mother, it made her moods and feelings a lot easier and smoother. She took the drugs until the last week of her life.
 

Spanielgirl

New member
Jan 10, 2019
9
Hello everyone, I have just logged into the forum in my place of escape at the end of a gruelling day, my solar lit Gazeebo ! Sadly no one appreciates it, especially Mum who is usually in bed asleep by 6.00 pm unless it’s a bad sundowning session. New assisted technology ( mattress/bed alarm ) means I can safely venture a bit further from close range of her bedroom + my daughter has arrived to take over for the weekend. Mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 8 yrs ago . I decided 2yrs ago to wean her off her drugs which included Donepizel , I met with her doctor some months later and updated her with my decision which she accepted without any judgement. Mum who is now 91 yrs has had 2 drug free years , she is lucky she takes nothing and has a good strong heart and has had the best quality of life that anyone could wish for. However she is now coming into the later stage of the disease, which is what we all expect. She lives in her own home, she is cared for by her family and daily carers, she is deteriorating, I would not wish to give her any drug that would prolong her life. To my knowledge she reluctantly only ever took Paracetamol if necessary, she was a Farmer and she knew what she had to do when her animals were clinging onto life. We need to be realistic, emotionally detached and ask ourselves, what would our love ones have chosen had they had mental capacity. I know what I would have said . This may sound harsh to some of you but good old common sense has got me through my life and hopefully I win the day.
 

Spanielgirl

New member
Jan 10, 2019
9
Hello everyone, I have just logged into the forum in my place of escape at the end of a gruelling day, my solar lit Gazeebo ! Sadly no one appreciates it, especially Mum who is usually in bed asleep by 6.00 pm unless it’s a bad sundowning session. New assisted technology ( mattress/bed alarm ) means I can safely venture a bit further from close range of her bedroom + my daughter has arrived to take over for the weekend. Mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 8 yrs ago . I decided 2yrs ago to wean her off her drugs which included Donepizel , I met with her doctor some months later and updated her with my decision which she accepted without any judgement. Mum who is now 91 yrs has had 2 drug free years , she is lucky she takes nothing and has a good strong heart and has had the best quality of life that anyone could wish for. However she is now coming into the later stage of the disease, which is what we all expect. She lives in her own home, she is cared for by her family and daily carers, she is deteriorating, I would not wish to give her any drug that would prolong her life. To my knowledge she reluctantly only ever took Paracetamol if necessary, she was a Farmer and she knew what she had to do when her animals were clinging onto life. We need to be realistic, emotionally detached and ask ourselves, what would our love ones have chosen had they had mental capacity. I know what I would have said . This may sound harsh to some of you but good old common sense has got me through my life and hopefully I win the day.