Should my partner start Donepezil?

Discussion in 'I have a partner with dementia' started by Annypurple, Jun 28, 2015.

  1. Annypurple

    Annypurple Registered User

    May 6, 2015
    My partner had his first visit from local memory clinic nurse practitioner, three years after first diagnosis ( she was rightly appalled we had not received a visit until now) .... There is little she can do other than prescribe Donepezil but on looking it up on the Internet, it looks very powerful, unpleasant and not really a long term help.
    We are thinking is it better just live life and face what comes as the disease ( Cerebral Amalaoid Angiopathy is the cause of dementia plus maybe some Alzheimers pathology) progresses?
    There is already so much to deal with, without the terrible side effects.
    Any positive experiences out there?
    I have no one to share all this with .... Glad of having a place here to ask.
    Feeling like many here ... Both of us, isolated with coming to terms with the affects of dementia.
  2. patsy56

    patsy56 Registered User

    Jan 14, 2015
    Fife Scotland
    Anny, welcome to TP, I may not be the best person who can help and offer advise but I know you are here and we are here and will help you.
  3. Annypurple

    Annypurple Registered User

    May 6, 2015
    #3 Annypurple, Jun 28, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2015
    Ohhhh I don't know how to work this thread!! First time I've posted here. Hope I am replying to Patsy56 - thank you for your welcome.
  4. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    #4 Countryboy, Jun 28, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2015
    first we don’t know your partner’s age , but I myself started taking Donepezil or Aricept a long time ago in November 1999 { age 57} it was only prescribed by a Consultant in those days it was quite a few years later before the GP’s started prescribing I’m still taking it today so that’s 16 years , has it made any difference well I hope so I can say I’m still going fine its age that slowing me down not dementia , side effects the only real side effect I can really say I noticed is having a heavy head feeling not necessarily a headache but possibly similar to a person who been on a good night out , I hear others say about cramps but in my case I suffered with cramps long before I started taking the medication , this only how I feel obviously everyone is different
    I possibly only one of a few left in UK today who started on Aricept , when you consider it wasn’t introduced into UK until 1998 and only then on trail

    As of the end of March 1998, ARICEPT had been approved in 32 countries and launched in 21 countries. Eisai launched ARICEPT in 1997 in the U.S., the U.K., and Germany and in 1998 in France. ARICEPT is in the Phase III clinical trial stage in Japan.
    ARICEPT inhibits acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme which breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, associated with memory and learning, thereby allowing a greater concentration of acetylcholine in the brain. ARICEPT is expected to improve cognition and patient function in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.
  5. sleepless

    sleepless Registered User

    Feb 19, 2010
    The Sweet North
    My husband was diagnosed in the summer of 2003, when he was 61.
    He has been taking Donepezil ever since.
    Absolutely no problems, no side-effects (I know this is not always the case.)
    I believe it gave us ten or eleven years of active life. His Alzheimer's has only recently had more of an impact on our lives - we went abroad twice last year, but can no longer do this.

    Everyone is different, but my advice would be to try it.
  6. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    My OH has not experienced any terrible side effects. It made him feel more positive and has potentially slowed down his decline. Don't dismiss medication outright. See how it goes first. If your partner really experiences nasty side effects, it can always be stopped again. That's why they start with 5mg for the first month before its upped to 10mg.
  7. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    North East England
    Hi, Aricept ( Donepezil ) is normally prescribe to Alzheimer's patients. It has no effect on other Dementias that I am aware of. It is given to slow the disease progression, it will not stop or cure it.
    My Mum was prescribed it as an AZ/VasD patient, but due to her falls history, blindness and living at home alone she was not given it until about six months later when she moved into a Residential Home in order that she could be supervised. In actual fact she had no real side effects and she stayed on it for 3 more years until she died at nearly 88. I have absolutely no idea whether it made any difference to the rate of progression in her case.

    Sorry I can't help more. :)
  8. reedysue

    reedysue Registered User

    Nov 4, 2014
    My mum has been of donepezil since April, she does not appear to have any side effects but neither does it seem to have made any improvement in her.
  9. Sammyjo1

    Sammyjo1 Registered User

    Jul 8, 2014
    Hi Anny. Welcome to TP - it's a great place to get information and reassurance.

    My OH who is 66 is on donepezil and has been for nearly a year. It has made a HUGE difference to how he is. Like you I was sceptical about him taking it, especially reading about the side-effects, but I thought it was a good idea to try it out. He did have a few rough days when he started on the 5 mg but since then I don't think he's had many side-effects at all.

    As one example of the difference it has made, he struggled to tell the time before taking it but now he has no problem at all. Everyone has commented on how he is back to his old, cheerful self.

    It's not an easy decision to make but as others have said, it may be worth trying it out as not everyone has problems with it and it can be very beneficial.
  10. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    #10 Countryboy, Jun 28, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2015
    I been reading the replies to the donepezil / Aricept it appears I,m the only person so far who is actually taking the medication and have been for almost 16 years I would like to see others give their personal views , as I said I,m the only person with dementia wearing the " T" shirt for Aricept so far on this thread { my diagnoses Alzheimer's in 1999 and fronto-temporal-dementia in 2003 } if that helps
  11. chris53

    chris53 Registered User

    Nov 9, 2009
    Hello Anny, and a warm welcome here to Talking Pont, so pleased you have found us, but so sorry you are on this journey:eek: regarding Aricept, it can help a lot of people:)so a very positive post by "Tony", my mum has been on this since late 2011....she did not have a bad reaction to this medication, but for many people it can have very bad side is not a cure but it seems it may slow the progression down, it's a fingers crossed let's try it sort of thing, but should this not be of help there are other medications..although we hate this chemical cosh...which may help..wish you good luck of a positive,although "medication"help for your partner, please do keep posting on here, sharing is caring:)
    Chris x
  12. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    The internet is a wonderful thing, it has brought us to you, but it is scary in the fact that one can read all kinds of things here and not evaluate things properly. Every drug has side effects, even water will kill you if you have too much.

    Donepezil, used for Alzheimer's, was marketed as aricept originally until the copyright ran out, and has been taken by my OH for 8 years, since first diagnosis. I am convinced it did him some good and it is only recently that his vascular dementia has come to the fore and he has gone downhill. His diagnosis was mixed dementia, Alzheimer's plus vascular.
  13. pamann

    pamann Registered User

    Oct 28, 2013
    Hello Anny, my OH has been taking Donepezil for 3yrs, no side effects, has slowed down the AD, but now going down hill quickly, but he has had AD for 8 or 9yrs. Hope this helps you. Welcome to Talking Point
  14. Mibs

    Mibs Registered User

    May 26, 2014
    Hi Anny - my husband (AD) was diagnosed and prescribed Aricept but refused to take them after about a week, during which time he had chest pains and violent diarrhoea.
    He had a heart attack 15 years ago, and the chest pains frightened him.
    Our doctor just shrugged and told him not to take any more.
    So I would suggest trying them, and if your partner has any concerns stop the tablets, and see your doctor for advice.
    Keep posting - we're all here for you.
  15. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    #15 Countryboy, Jun 29, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2015
    Annypurple to add to my previous replies I was asked if I would take the Aricept in 1999 it was a new drug then not much information about any results, I continued working for eight years in full employment retired aged 65 I carried on working almost full time after that had heart attack last September but back working on odd days now but I am 72 now So the Aricept hasn't done me any harm I would like to think has helped me over the years the alternative would have been to much of a risk not to take it but I don't expect we will ever know
  16. carer13

    carer13 Registered User

    Dec 24, 2012
    Feeling cold and hot within minutes despite the temperature.

    My wife who has dementia constantly complains of being too cold or hot so turns the heat on and off constantly. She complains of knee and back pains and cannot walk to far and is very slow cannot keep up with even the slowest pace. Also will only eat meals with prawns in them and have a particular soup daily! But eats sweets and cakes!
    She also has or reacts to certain smells in a massive way shouting and getting angry!
    The doctor examined her last week and could find nothing wrong.

    Is it the dementia or does she have other mental problems?

    Help needed.
  17. Annypurple

    Annypurple Registered User

    May 6, 2015
    Thank you Tony and everyone else for your helpful comments, my OH is 73 and we think symptoms began 6 or 7 years ago but he's only just got to the point of needing more support. Sounds like it's definitely worth him having a try, and if side affects too bad stop but if not, then seems to be beneficial.

  18. Annypurple

    Annypurple Registered User

    May 6, 2015
    Thanks sleeplesss, this is really helpful .... sorry AD is affecting your husband and of course you more now. I can hardly bear the losses AD brings - holidays, all the good times. Our only son and his family live abroad and I can see that there will soon be a time when travelling can't happen, but maybe Donepezil will if he can manage the side affects. Definitely worth a try by what everyone here has replied.
  19. Annypurple

    Annypurple Registered User

    May 6, 2015
    My husband has become much more sensitive to the cold since he's been affected by dementia ..... sounds, smells, sensory things yes. He got really angry with a man using his mobile phone in the 'quiet' coach of a train for example. Citalopram has helped him tolerate emotionally, although he layers up the clothing even in hot weather like today. And he eats anything with sugar in and become much more picky. Yes. it seems to me that it's very likely to be dementia causing the problems. My
  20. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    Hi Annypurple that's ok hope it helped you ,

    cheer Tony

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