• All threads and posts regarding Coronavirus COVID-19 can now be found in our new area specifically for Coronavirus COVID-19 discussion.

    You can directly access this area >here<.

Lorazepam, sleeping pills.

Szaitisja

Registered User
Jul 28, 2018
138
Hertfordshire
Hello everyone. I am desperate for some advice. The friend I look after (with dementia) is more and more often getting agitated in the early evenings,(calling for her mum, wanting to go home etc.) It has been happening for months and months but only every now and then, now it's much more frequent. The doctor prescribed Lorazepam and sleeping pills to be used as and when necessary, as she also hallucinations every now and then. In all the months since we had the prescription I only used the sleeping pill twice when the hallucinations were really disturbing and she was very scared and there was no way to distract, etc. Nowadays all those disturbances happen more often and to varying degree and quite often I'm still able to manage to calm her down with distractions most of the time, but being in lockdown (she is very vulnerable and therefore shielding) and not being able to go out I'm struggling mentally more and more. The lack of visitors etc is also very difficult for her. Another friend is suggesting using the medication more often as prevention to ensure that the day is calm and I can get rest and sleep when necessary and I just can't do it. I am unable to justify it because it would be for my benefit rather than hers and it seems unethical. What would you do? Can I please have few opinions. Thank you
 

marionq

Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
6,102
Scotland
I would use the sleeping tablets for two reasons. Firstly she is having her sleep
Disturbed which cannot be doing her general health any good and more importantly you are disturbed and have the demanding and exhausting job of looking after her.

If your health breaks down she will be taken into care so if you want to delay that then see that you both have a good rest.
 

Thethirdmrsc

Registered User
Apr 4, 2018
168
My husband was on those for the first year, and they just didn’t agree with him, and didn’t make him sleep, so we went on to Mirtazapine after that. I would go back to the GP or consultant.
 

Szaitisja

Registered User
Jul 28, 2018
138
Hertfordshire
Thank you for your replies. We had no need to use lorazepam as yet, but the potential side effects scare the hell out of me. She is very frail and had some bad rection to antibiotics in not to high a dose few months ago and I am just terrified of it happening again especially in the current crisis. The sleeping pill worked very well the couple time I had to use it, but even half of 3.75mg dose makes it impossible to raise her for the whole of next day, which means she is not able to take her regular medication and any food or fluids because she can't stay awake enough to do it.
 

Hayley jane

Registered User
Apr 1, 2020
25
@Szaitisja , my father , similar story, was was prescribed Lorazapam but they didn’t help and as he was quite frail they made him very unsteady and really lethargic. He is now on Diazapam which has calmed him much better with less of the side effects . I would speak to the GP if you can . i would also speak to Social Services to see if you can have some carers allowance which would allow you some respite for your own wellbeing. X
 

Szaitisja

Registered User
Jul 28, 2018
138
Hertfordshire
Thank you, I will try to speak to gp tomorrow perhaps. Waiting for the callback from social services to see if we could have some help for 1 or 2 afternoons a week if possible so I could have a break. The regular friends who would normally visit are shielding as well so it is tough atm 7 days a week
 

Andrew_McP

Registered User
Mar 2, 2016
264
South Northwest
I am unable to justify it because it would be for my benefit rather than hers and it seems unethical. What would you do? Can I please have few opinions. Thank you
I used to feel like that too, but looking after yourself is as important as looking after the person you care for and sometimes you both need a break... which is what lorazepam provided for us. Mum would get so agitated and distressed, for hours on end; it was very hard to watch and exhausting to manage. So I'd get grumpy and stressed too, which just made things worse. But half a 1mg tablet of lorazepam, concealed in a piece of fudge if necessary, would usually calm Mum miraculously.

If things were really bad (not sleeping for a day or two, or very aggressive) I'd use a whole 1mg tablet, but that would knock her out quite heavily for a few hours, and if she woke needing the loo, it could be very hard dealing with her because she was so 'relaxed' she'd fall very easily and I struggled to lift her. So you have to be careful.

And of course, if you use something like lorazepam too regularly it doesn't work as well and can cause other problems. But the doctor told me I worried too much about that, and using lorazepam for a day or two, if things were bad (for instance, during a UTI) or several times a week, spread out, wasn't going to cause problems. As long as it wasn't being used every day for weeks it's a minor risk compared to the distress and chaos dementia can cause to both person with dementia and carers.

Mum is a lot calmer (and a lot less Mum) now, and I haven't needed to use lorazepam for quite a long time. But there's always some available, just in case. I only had emergency help from the memory clinic once, and that was the first time I was genuinely concerned for my safety... I'd never seen Mum so angry, so scared (of who she thought I was) and I'd never felt so helpless. But two nurses turned up, saw the state she was in, and one was back an hour later with an emergency prescription which they made her take. Within ten minutes Mum was asleep (I think partially chewing the pill helped with that) and when she woke about four hours later, she was calm and even smiled at me.

So while I've said on here before that I never used to be a fan of 'the chemical kosh', experience taught me never to dismiss any options and never beat myself up for being unable to manage dementia without help. Dementia is as tough a condition as anyone will ever have, and probably the toughest condition any carer will be expected to try and manage. Use every tool you have at your disposal to make life less stressful for you both.

Good luck.
 

Szaitisja

Registered User
Jul 28, 2018
138
Hertfordshire
I used to feel like that too, but looking after yourself is as important as looking after the person you care for and sometimes you both need a break... which is what lorazepam provided for us. Mum would get so agitated and distressed, for hours on end; it was very hard to watch and exhausting to manage. So I'd get grumpy and stressed too, which just made things worse. But half a 1mg tablet of lorazepam, concealed in a piece of fudge if necessary, would usually calm Mum miraculously.

If things were really bad (not sleeping for a day or two, or very aggressive) I'd use a whole 1mg tablet, but that would knock her out quite heavily for a few hours, and if she woke needing the loo, it could be very hard dealing with her because she was so 'relaxed' she'd fall very easily and I struggled to lift her. So you have to be careful.

And of course, if you use something like lorazepam too regularly it doesn't work as well and can cause other problems. But the doctor told me I worried too much about that, and using lorazepam for a day or two, if things were bad (for instance, during a UTI) or several times a week, spread out, wasn't going to cause problems. As long as it wasn't being used every day for weeks it's a minor risk compared to the distress and chaos dementia can cause to both person with dementia and carers.

Mum is a lot calmer (and a lot less Mum) now, and I haven't needed to use lorazepam for quite a long time. But there's always some available, just in case. I only had emergency help from the memory clinic once, and that was the first time I was genuinely concerned for my safety... I'd never seen Mum so angry, so scared (of who she thought I was) and I'd never felt so helpless. But two nurses turned up, saw the state she was in, and one was back an hour later with an emergency prescription which they made her take. Within ten minutes Mum was asleep (I think partially chewing the pill helped with that) and when she woke about four hours later, she was calm and even smiled at me.

So while I've said on here before that I never used to be a fan of 'the chemical kosh', experience taught me never to dismiss any options and never beat myself up for being unable to manage dementia without help. Dementia is as tough a condition as anyone will ever have, and probably the toughest condition any carer will be expected to try and manage. Use every tool you have at your disposal to make life less stressful for you both.

Good luck.
Thank you very much for your reply. I haven't been online for a while, as things got pretty bad and I just couldn't cope beyond the necessary stuff so had to shut the outside world out. I have managed to change my mind on the tablets a little bit. Still not using them too often but much less reluctant when things are really disturbing for my friend.
Her latest hallucinations sadly are about her parents both committing suicide few days go so tablets were absolutely necessary as I was unable to calm her down the few times it occurred. Quite often I am able to work out what might have triggered particular horrible hallucination, but not this time. It is horrendous when it happens, she gets so distressed.
Last few days have been much calmer, luckily...
 

Members online

No members online now.

Forum statistics

Threads
114,986
Messages
1,681,664
Members
65,986
Latest member
lulubellewilson