Dementia and Aricept

Discussion in 'Anything Goes Coffee Shop' started by Jan51, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. Jan51

    Jan51 Well-Known Member

    My 80-year-old husband was diagnosed with dementia several years ago--it is not advanced yet. A year ago his doctor asked if we wanted to try Aricept, but said he was ambivalent about it; it supposedly slowed down the progress of the disease, didn't actually "help" it, and he said its benefit wears off after a year or so. At first we said no, because we try to avoid any unnecessary medications. But later we decided to give it a try--actually donepezil, which is the generic of Aricept.

    Since starting it, my husband has developed an occasional tremor, which is a side effect of the drug. (The doctor denied knowing anything about it, but it is in articles on the internet.) After being on it almost a year, and since it was supposed to lose effectiveness in a year, we decided to go off it and see if the tremor went away. He went off it for a month. Within a week or two I could see that he was definitely more confused than previously. I hoped that he would adjust and snap back, but after a month, I told the doctor I'd like him to go back on it and see if he returns to the less-confused, more alert mode. (At this point I was not longer concerned about an occasional tremor.)

    He has been back on it for three weeks now. The first two weeks I saw no improvement, but right at two weeks, he definitely improved, back to what he was a couple months ago. I looked it up on the internet and see that others have also noticed actual improvement two weeks after starting it. There was improvement around the time he first started it, but I was also experimenting at that time with adding in various supplements, so it was hard to say what was helping the most. A friend also told me her dad definitely improved on it. However, I read that others have noticed no immediate improvement on taking it.

    Oh, and he only takes a half dose--5 mg/day. You are supposed to up it to 10 mg/day after a month, but when we had tried that earlier, the next morning he broke out in a burning rash around his mouth the next day, which was painful for 2-3 weeks (and also a bloodshot eye), so we kept it at 5 and have never upped it. When we recently restarted it, he did develop a mild case of the burning lips again but it is gone now. Not sure if I want to up it in the future.

    Just thought I would share our experience in case anyone else is taking or thinking about taking Aricept and is wondering about its benefit.
     
  2. Jonathan

    Jonathan Well-Known Member

    My dad died recently of Alzheimer's/Dementia. We put him on all kind of medications but, honestly, we have no idea whether they helped or hurt. By the way, this is NOT medical advice. Only a doctor can do that.

    I'm glad we tried everything. It was worth a shot, but I'm not sure it achieved anything. But it was the least we could do.

    For conditions like Parkinson's disease, there are great medications, from what I understand, that greatly enhance the quality of life up till the end. The result is the same in the end (They don't cure the disease), and people who suffer from the disease still meet the same fate, but with medication, their symptoms are reduced and quality of life is greatly enhanced until the end....

    I wish modern medicine could kill Alzheimer's. My dad died of it. It is a very evil disease and makes you sometime even question God. It is a soul-sucking disease for not just the victim, but everyone who loves and cares for him or her.
     
  3. mattfivefour

    mattfivefour Administrator Staff Member

    Andrea and I moved up to Canada a year ago to care for my mother who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's 4 years ago. She is 96. The doctors have her on no medications for the Alzheimer's as the side-effects are undesirable for someone her age and would also not interact well with her others meds. She is late in the 6th stage of the disease (hallucinations, conversations with invisible people, confusion, etc.) I sure wish there were something. It is so hard watching a highly intelligent person who once spoke three languages fluently along with a smattering of others and held high responsibilities in the Canadian civil service now be almost unable to read a simple word in English and be almost entirely incapable of communicating her needs! I HATE this disease. It kills twice.
     
  4. bap

    bap Well-Known Member

    Sad 4 Y'all
     
  5. caligal

    caligal Well-Known Member

    I have heard it called the long goodbye. When I was a CNA I cared for many of these people. Their families rarely visited them as they didn't know who they were. When I cared for them I always said I would rather die of cancer than these illnesses. Of course I don't want either.
     
  6. chaser

    chaser Well-Known Member

    My mom had Alzheimer's/Dementia, horrible illness, she never talked, just walked and stared, had to be fed. She actually passed away from a heart attack. I feel sad for anyone that has it, and their family/friends that try to deal with it.
     
  7. Kem

    Kem Citizen

    I used to visit some of these patients for our church. I will share one experience. The man had not spoken to or recognized family for almost a year. I went to the nursing home and told the nurse I would read to him and pray. Two other patients overheard and asked to join us which was fine with me. I read Psalm 103, sang one verse of a hymn and prayed. The man looked up and said "that was very nice". This man was a Christian but hadn't really spoken for a year. It was so encouraging. I did not have anything like that to ever report on any other patients but one never knows whether the Word and prayer will reach even the most advanced disease patient. For those who have loved ones in this condition, don't give up, keep reading the Word to them and praying.
     
  8. Almost Heaven

    Almost Heaven Well-Known Member

    Mine too...at the end of February. My Dad actually did better when I took him off all meds. He maintained a healthy diet and appetite right up to the end, I only gave him a few vitamins and minerals. I agree with Kem, you never give up, we were never sure where my Dad stood with salvation. If he was saved I doubt he would have ever told us. The last 24 hours of his life my Mother's pastor visited him. When he told my Dad where he was from, he came to himself immediately. The pastor discussed the plan of salvation with him, my Dad said he had always believed. The pastor prayed over him and the last word my Dad ever said was a very loud and clear AMEN. Never give up!
     
    Jeri minton, bap, Andy C and 7 others like this.
  9. Andy C

    Andy C Well-Known Member

    I belong to an Alzheimers forum, and most of the people with a diagnosis of Alzheimers took Aricept at the early stages of the disease. From my own research, no drugs are much help with symptoms in the later stages.

    You did not mention what type of dementia he has? Alzheimers, FTD, Vascular, Lewy Body....I do know that aricept will make symptoms worse for those with FTD.

    When your having troubles as a caregiver, which all of them do, I highly recommend videos on you tube by Teepa Snow. She is considered one of the most knowledgeable persons there is in training caregivers. Also, on the below link, is the Alzheimers forum, and also has folks and caregivers dealing with every type of dementia. In the caregivers section on the forum you will find a very active discussion going on between the caregivers on many different topics. Also, their search feature has an archieve of threads/discussions on all areas you could possibly have questions about, and their knowledge is excellent. Most caregivers who use this forum believe its provided the most help they have recieved from any source. Medical professionals can provide help, but the family members who have been there and done that are a treasure trove of useful information.

    https://www.alzconnected.org/
     
    mattfivefour, Jan51, bap and 2 others like this.
  10. Andy C

    Andy C Well-Known Member

    Delete
     
    mattfivefour likes this.
  11. Andy C

    Andy C Well-Known Member

    I posted the below for Jan, but thought I would also pass it on to you.

    When your having troubles as a caregiver, which all of them do, I highly recommend videos on you tube by Teepa Snow. She is considered one of the most knowledgeable persons there is in training caregivers. Also, on the below link, is the Alzheimers forum, and also has folks and caregivers dealing with every type of dementia. In the caregivers section on the forum you will find a very active discussion going on between the caregivers on many different topics. Also, their search feature has an archieve of threads/discussions on all areas you could possibly have questions about, and their knowledge is excellent. Most caregivers who use this forum believe its provided the most help they have recieved from any source. Medical professionals can provide help, but the family members who have been there and done that are a treasure trove of useful information.
     
  12. bap

    bap Well-Known Member

    :thumbup
     
    Andy C and Almost Heaven like this.
  13. Jan51

    Jan51 Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Andy!
     
    Kem and Andy C like this.
  14. mattfivefour

    mattfivefour Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks, Andy! :thumbup
     
    Andy C likes this.

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