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How effective are drugs for dementia. The side effects makes her worse

ghos

Registered User
Jan 18, 2015
1
My mom was recently diagosed with dementia and given medication to slow down the progression. But the side effects made it worse. What if we will do away with the drugs and just make her feel better and happier? Need your input
 

lin1

Registered User
Jan 14, 2010
9,319
East Kent
Hello Ghos. Welcome to TP.
Unfortunately with these meds, no one can say how they will affect the person or even if they will help.
Is it just one med that has been tried as their are others that be of benefit.
If you haven't already done so I would get back to the person who prescribed it

Some on here have opted not to have Aricept, Memantine etc because of unpleasant side effects.
 

stanleypj

Registered User
Dec 8, 2011
10,708
North West
Yes, lin is quite right, discuss the problems with the prescriber.

Sadly, if you google this you will find that, though some of them may help some people, the answer to your question is, overall, 'not very'.
 

opaline

Registered User
Nov 13, 2014
182
Mum's first prescription said on the packet 'Aricept' which I believe is a trade name. They were small, round, white tablets and she was fine with those. Didn't notice any improvement but knew it would take time. Her next prescription the packet simply said 'donepezil hydrochloride', as if they were 'own brand', these were peach-coloured and either round or oval and made her sick. I simply stopped giving her them (she wouldn't take them anyway). I stipulated to the chemist that it HAD to be Aricept to no avail. Apparently, the 'own-brand' ones are cheaper! So it's a case of trial and error but it does take months to see any difference, x
 

karenjoy

Registered User
Feb 19, 2014
13
Southend on sea essex
Hi my mum who is 91 has had dementia for about 8 yrs now has never been on any medication because of the side effects some of them cause and some make the dementia worse which you say is happening. We give my mum Bach remedies which we have found to be really helpful for the aggression and outbursts she used to have. She is really happy on this wonderful stuff. Give it a try it won't harm her and it's much better than the drugs the doctors want to put them on. Good luck x
 

Spamar

Registered User
Oct 5, 2013
7,217
Suffolk
Different drugs suit different people, you may have to try a range.
Way back I used to work in pharmaceuticals and I am sure that all tablets of one type and strength had to be the same shape and colour, whoever made them. That seems to have gone by the board and I have enough trouble, let alone someone with dementia! Think it's a rule that should be brought back!
 

barny

Registered User
Jan 20, 2006
199
Herts
Hi, my mum was put on aricept at the start of her illness. It didn't seem to make any difference so after several months the dose was increased. The higher dose made her terribly sick so we stopped them. She lived for another 14 years with long periods of stability. Although drugs have their place and are certainly beneficial to some they are not the be all and end all. Personally I think good diet, gentle excercise, stimulation and as GL says contentment play the most important part in managing this terrible illness. Chocolate, sherry and Frank Sinatre were what gave my mum most contentment!
 

RedLou

Registered User
Jul 30, 2014
1,162
I am not quite sure why you are expecting an improvement in functioning from Aricept? As I understand it, these drugs slow the progress of the disease; they do not affect damage already present. Thus, they are taken to avoid deterioration and as such you can't really 'tell' or 'see' that they are doing any good.
 

Beate

Registered User
May 21, 2014
11,989
London
They did OH good. He reported feeling "more positive" which couldn't really be a placebo effect as he has zero insight into his condition. As for how long the medication slowed things down, who knows but I am glad he has it.
 

susy

Registered User
Jul 29, 2013
801
North East
My dad is on aricept, it certainly has slowed down the progress of this vile disease. It will be an individual reaction to certain drugs, keep going back to the person who prescribed the drugs and work with them to try and get the right drugs at the right doses to try to maintain a quality of life.
 

Witzend

Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
4,291
SW London
The effects seem to vary so much - some people say the meds help enormously - others say the opposite, or don't think they make much difference.

My mother was on Aricept for a while, but all it seemed to do was to bring back the 'nasty' stage that had all but passed. So we stopped it. But I do think she was probably put on it too late.
 

stanleypj

Registered User
Dec 8, 2011
10,708
North West
Perhaps the most important thing to understand about the drugs that are usually prescribed for AD is the message spelt out by Alzheimer Scotland. Full info here@

http://www.alzscot.org/information_and_resources?keyword=drugs&section=living+with+dementia

Most important message from their info, in my opinion:

Aricept is not claimed to be a cure for Alzheimer's disease. It treats the symptoms only and there is no evidence that it could halt or reverse the process of brain cell damage that causes Alzheimer's disease.

Ebixa is not claimed to be a cure for Alzheimer's disease. It treats only the symptoms and there is no evidence to show that it could halt or reverse the process of cell damage that causes Alzheimer's disease.

Exelon is not claimed to be a cure for Alzheimer's disease. It treats the symptoms only and there is no evidence that it could halt or reverse the process of brain cell damage that causes Alzheimer's disease.

Reminyl is not claimed to be a cure for Alzheimer's disease. It treats the symptoms only and there is no evidence that it could halt or reverse the process of brain cell damage that causes Alzheimer's disease.


Potential side-effects are, of course, an additional and important consideration.
 

lin1

Registered User
Jan 14, 2010
9,319
East Kent
Hi again.
Some people do show improvement for a while on these Meds.
When we eventually (looong) story got mum on Ebixa (memantine) IMO it was to late for it to really help my mum.
Amongst other things , we were told , if it worked it would only help for a couple of months, how wrong they were.

Fortunately mum suffered no ill effects and it stopped the almost daily backward slide extremely quickly , we noticed the difference within a week.
After two years we saw mum was sliding again but much much slower than previously.

Their are times though when the side effects can outweigh any benefit .

Sadly none of these meds cure Alzheimer's .
 
Last edited:

carlhemp

Registered User
Jan 19, 2015
1
Hi my mum who is 91 has had dementia for about 8 yrs now has never been on any medication because of the side effects some of them cause and some make the dementia worse which you say is happening. We give my mum Bach remedies which we have found to be really helpful for the aggression and outbursts she used to have. She is really happy on this wonderful stuff. Give it a try it won't harm her and it's much better than the drugs the doctors want to put them on. Good luck x
would like to know what Bach remedies consist of?
 

Sammyjo1

Registered User
Jul 8, 2014
194
Contrary to a lot of experiences on this page my OH has responded incredibly well to Donepezil. It really has made a huge difference.

Interestingly he had some white donepezil tablets to begin with and then got some salmon-coloured ones. When he started taking those, he did seem to have a bit of a reaction, a milder form to the initial side-effects (which wore off) but these settled down after a week or so and he now says he thinks the coloured tablets are better.

As with everything with dementia, each person's experience is different so it's impossible to generalise. I wouldn't want people to be put off from trying the medication and from sticking with the side-effects for a few days before giving up
 

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
16,497
66
Toronto, Canada
My mother has responded very well to the AD meds. She was first on Aricept then as her disease progressed she went on Ebixa and Reminyl. We were very lucky in that she did not suffer any apparent side effects. We did find that they improved her moods, which was a great concern to us.

I think it is always worth trying the meds to see if they will help. It is easy enough to discontinue them if the side effects are major.
 

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