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Research in to quantities of medication taken by Alzheimer's sufferers.


Registered User
Oct 22, 2014
Hi all,

Apologies in advance if the topic or wording is too invasive.

I am a final year Mechanical Engineering student studying at Sheffield Hallam University.

I have developed a new concept for a pill dispenser, but in order to better the concept, I am after an idea of how many tablets someone suffering with dementia take on a daily basis.

These could be tablets specifically for dementia, or for other conditions.

If anyone could provide information to the following four questions, it would be much appreciated;

1) How many tablets (roughly) are taken daily?
2) At what intervals are these tablets taken?
3) Due to the symptoms of dementia, does the sufferer ever forgot to take their medication?
4) What form is the medication in? i.e. tablets, injections etc.

Thanks in advance,



Registered User
Aug 24, 2013
Hi Brame

Here's my answers if it helps
1) How many tablets (roughly) are taken daily? - Dementia usually comes (although not always) with age so my wife takes one tablet a day for that but about 6 for other things. Seven a day in total.
2) At what intervals are these tablets taken? - some have to be taken in the morning, some in the evening and some others before meals, others usually daily ones can be taken any time as long as it's the same time everyday.
3) Due to the symptoms of dementia, does the sufferer ever forgot to take their medication? - All the time, most require supervision to take the tablets and may require assistance/coaching to swallow them too so generally they're administered by a relative or carer.
4) What form is the medication in? i.e. tablets, injections etc. - Tablets, I'm not aware of any home injections specifically for dementia but some are also diabetic or have conditions that do require injections. Some people do have vitamin injections but these are usually done at the GPs surgery.
They usual prescription for Alzheimer's in Aricept/Donepezil once a day and very often an antidepressant where the dose varies but is usually only one a day too.
I'd be interested to know what your pill dispensing concept may be as people with AZ can forget they're supposed to be taking tablets even when they have them in their mouth, they can still forget what to do next.


Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
North Manchester
Tablets for dementia are usually one or two per day, there are quite often more tablets for co-morbidities

With dementia you have the problem that when the person is presented with a tablet they may not know what to do with it.

A person with dementia may also disagree with the 'machine' and attack it with anything convenient - knife,screwdriver,hammer.
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Registered User
Oct 18, 2013
British Isles
My Mum was on 5 tablets a day. 3 taken at breakfast time were swallowed then one chewed after breakfast and one to be sucked or chewed after evening meal. She was also on inhalers twice a day.

In addition there was one table to be taken weekly - and she was only allowed to drink water within an hour before or after this tablet (no milky drinks).

Forgetting to take medication is of course a major problem as the disease advances, depending on the person's abilities. Even those marked with the day of the week can be a problem as people can become confused about what day it is.

If you read a few threads on here I think you will get a better idea of the challenges.


Registered User
Mar 20, 2015
Late Stage Oral Medication

Not so relevant for you but in case of interest - My mother-in-law is in what would be considered very late stages, we feed her everything by hand, she has very little awareness. So pills are very difficult as she may choke on them, occasionally there is no other choice e.g. when she needs antibiotics in which case we have to smuggle them in with yoghurt. But for day to day purposes she takes Mirtazipine and Ebixa, which are both liquid formulations. And she takes some Movicol which is a powder laxative you dissolve in a drink.

My father-in-law however has heart and lung problems and takes about 7 pills a day, plus inhalers. He does not officially have any memory problems, but he is rather forgetful and finds all the instructions confusing. Sometimes he stops taking them because they make him need the loo and he can't always make it in time. So when he had a bad foot he ended up in hospital because he stopped taking the pills for his lungs so he didn't have to rush to the loo, thinking he was being really clever. Took several days before he admitted to one of the doctors that he had stopped taking his pills. Rather frustrating!! And hard for us to keep track of what he has taken and when. I think we are going to try a dosset box, but not sure if he will take to that as he has not exactly got delicate hands and good eyesight to fiddle around with it....

Will be interesting to see what you come up with :)


Registered User
Jun 27, 2012
My mother used a patch daily on early stages. And several different pills 3 times a day. Now, on CH, most medicines are liquid (easier to take). Remember that pills need to be kept dry and clean

About a pill dispenser, good luck, people on early stage of dementia can fight agains it.

Btw, if my mom got mad with some machine she could "fix" it with tools, ( ie electrical drill, hammer). Accidentally spill liquids on it(water, alcohol, milk). Sometimes this spills attracted insects, so my suggestion is something anti spills and troll proof.


Registered User
Jun 29, 2010
My mum had 8 doses of differing quantities daily, of her Parkinson's medications, along with an anti-depressant, folic acid, calcium and vitamins. She had patches for her Rivastigmine (Exelon) dementia medication.

She was given a Pivotell medication dispenser (well, two actually); the pharmacist would fill and deliver, taking away the empty one to re-fill. (An earlier attempt at the Dosset box failed miserably with confusion over which dose when, and was hopeless in her circumstances)

Mum was given this early on in her dementia so learned to use it, almost fully compliantly, and it helped keep her independent and her medications on time.


It was certainly the best system available that met her needs at the time.


Registered User
Apr 3, 2014
near Folkestone
My husband takes 14 pills a day plus 3 inhalers . Rivastigmine for his dementia, 3 other medication for his epilepsy, inhalers for his COPD and the usual stroke prevention like clopedogrel, statins and blood pressure tablets! Voltarol for his stenosis ! We have a pill dispenser and I sort his meds out for the week as he would not remember what to take when.

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