Refusing Drugs


Registered User
Mar 7, 2007

My mother has AD she is 79 and was diagnosed last summer, the consultant has prescribed Reminyl and quetiapine for her, as she suffers from hallucinations and hearing voices, most of this appears to be auditory.
She is in complete denial as far as her illness goes, she insists that there is nothing wrong with her and that everyone around her is doing it to her. She has now deluded herself that she has had a complete discharge from the hospital and no longer needs any form of medication. This now means that although she has a pivotel drug dispenser she will not self medicate and she will refuse drugs even when supervised. I have highlighted this to her care team, but in common with everyone else on this forum I suffer from the NHS budget issue and their total reluctance to do anything other than act on a crisis basis which is what they had to do for her last year, she went into hospital because she spent the night in the garage when it was -2.
She is unsafe without medication, does anyone have any thoughts on how I can get her to take it?
Many thanks


Registered User
Aug 20, 2006
When my Dad started talking about not taking his Aricept, a while back, I'm afraid that we had to resort to emotional blackmail.

We told him point-blank that without it, he would revert to the condition he was in last year, and that we would not be able to cope, and that he would end up either in hospital or a care home.

I know this sounds terribly harsh and cold, but we simply told him that the tablets were totally non-negotiable, and that even if he refused to go into a home, he might not have any choice in the matter. Either that or Mum and I would end up leaving home because we could not cope meaning he would rely on professional carers.

It hasn't been mentioned since, aside from the occasional "I wish I didn't have to take these but I know I have to"

It may also be worth getting a medical professional, preferably one the person knows and trusts (usually the GP) to tell them they need to take the tablets. Many people, particularly older people, regard the doctor as an authority figure and are unwilling to ignore their instructions, where they will ignore a family member easily!


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
She is unsafe without medication, does anyone have any thoughts on how I can get her to take it
I think you will find that, without someone being at hand to take out the pills and ensure they are taken properly, there is no way you could get her to take the pills.

There's another issue - if she is confused about medication - she might actually take too many. I agree with Nada and Nebiroth that the first place to start is with her GP, then progress along the line to others. Don't minimise the situation.

It is simply not good enough for them to work on a crisis management basis only.


Registered User
Mar 7, 2007
Thanks for the replies

Hi everyone

Thanks for your replies. My mother cannot overdose because the pivotel box delivers only one compartment of medication at a given time. It is a great little device that works on a timer if only it was used!
I have tried blackmailing, threatning and bribing my mother and when I mention the word hospital, because she spent 4 months locked up in an old age psychiatry ward, she throws a 3 year old temper tantrum! "That is all you can say to me, you are trying to get me back in there"! Although nothing could be further from the truth as the medication will enable her to have her current quality of life longer in her own home but she does not see it this way sadly, but I guess this is just part of the disease. I am going to get a letter from the consultant to waive under her nose that she does need her medication, but the chances are she will say "you wrote that" AD is so frustrating!!!


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Realistically, at this stage I suspect there is little that you yourself can do. I think you are spot on with her reaction to the letter.


Registered User
Jul 13, 2005
I know how frustrating this can be, we're going through a stage of Mary hiding medication and point blank refusing it when I try and watch. The inventiveness of this disease astounds me, it's a shame it can't be harnessed to good use!!!

It's no good the doctor telling her, she just forgets the moment she's been told. We don't have outside help, so its up to me, but it is worrying with the lack of blood pressure drugs.

An appointment with the clinic coincided with this issue, and the consultant was very helpful in trying to find a liquid alternative for some of the medication ( don't think it's available for Aricept) but although the original idea was to give it to her in a drink, she can taste how bitter it is, and now we're trying to poison her! It has to be a small quantity of liquid, or how can you be sure she will drink it all.

Oh well, back to the drawing board..................

Trouble now is she is about to have a further tablet for osteoporosis prescribed, and the resrictions on taking it are virtually impossible for someone with AD!


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
I think as Nada says, you have to put pressure on your mum's GP. Stress that you have tried everything else, but your mum will not take her medication without supervision. He should be able to arrange for someone to come in to administer the meds.

Good luck,

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Dear unabletocope.

If people are in denial about their condition, it is understandable they regard their medication as unimportant.

I`m sure my husband wouldn`t take any of his medication, if I didn`t hand it to him personally. Even then, he says he doesn`t see the point of it because either,a] he doesn`t need it, or, b] it isn`t doing any good.

When we discussed it with the GP, he said he couldn`t force my husband to take his medication, but would write in his record, `Refusing medication`.

Luckily, it hasn`t come to that.

I hope you find a way round your problem.

With love


Registered User
Mar 15, 2006

Trouble now is she is about to have a further tablet for osteoporosis prescribed, and the resrictions on taking it are virtually impossible for someone with AD![/QUOTE]
I know that one! I went back to my GP in the end and he worked out the lesser of the two evils. You have to remember the patients info leaflet with the medication has to list every possible contra indication and side effect. My GP saw a sensible, practical way through it! So mum takes a tablet at vagually about the right time!


Registered User
Apr 16, 2006
My mum was like this but she landed up back in the hospital, now she has a very chatty carer that comes in every day who reminds her to take her meds. Then a CPN once a month to give quietipan by injection. I think she was more agreeable because like your Mum she did not like the hospital. Things have gon wrong again now because Mum has started drinking but i just wanted to give you our expierience it may help.


Registered User
May 14, 2006
When Mum was in her own home, we tried to use an automatic pill dispenser, but she found it hard to get the pills out or didn't notice the miniature predesilone tablets and then suffered badly from her rheumatoid arthritis the next day.
She used to say things like, "The machine wouldn't give me my pills!" or "The machine is giving me too many pills, so I haven't taken any!"
Even when somebody was there to give her the medication, she would still drop the mini pills down the side of the chair, or not be able to pick them up with her arthritic fingers.
I wonder why they make such tiny pills? They cause so many problems. At least the osteoporosis tablets are big enough to be seen easily!
It is really important that Haliperidol tablets are taken in the evening so that sleep occurs at night rather than during the day.
Mum did seem a lot better once she was in a care home and having regular mealtimes and medication times.