My mom has late stage Alzheimer’s and we recently took her off her prescription. In the past week she has been better than she has for the past two years. Has anyone heard of this happening?

Follow
Share

My mom has late stage alzheimers. Her doctor took her off namenda and aricept. in June, 2011. We were giving her Ativan as needed. Prior to that she had been taking ativan as needed. Usually later in the evening and bedtime, but not everyday. At first we saw some improvement in her behavior, but it did not last long. Then came Haldol. It knocked her out in the beginning, and she had terrible hallucinations. So the Dr. increased the dosage. She became uncontrollable,hallucinated all the time, was zombie like whenever she was awake. She could no longer walk, talk or swallow, was in a wheelchair most of the time. I stopped giving her ativan and haldol.Within a few days we ended up in the hospital for a UTI. During the five days in the hospital she still couldnt walk, talk, or swallow, but she was sweet and happy and was taking only blood pressure meds, and thyroid meds. When we went home I put her in her own room. (she had been sleeping with her husband of 38yrs.) We never had the TV on when she was in the room.For about a week she still couldnt walk, talk, or eat, but was always in a good mood. Then one night, after being in bed for about 30min. She said she needed to Pee and got up with little assistance and walked to the bathroom, Peed and washed her hands and walked right back to bed. The next morning she asked for biscuits and gravy. It has been over a year since she even knew she was eating breakfast. That same day, she said she wanted to go out for lunch. We were all so shocked that overnight she was now better than she was a year ago. So we went out, she walked with her walker, and ate her food and drank all by herself. She has been improving daily. She asks for certain foods, can carry on a conversation(somewhat). She can remember a name for a few minutes, Knows me everyday. She still gets scared and nervous, but is not combative like she had been. Today my dad was playing his keyboard and she started to get up. I asked her what she was doing, and she asked me to dance with her. So I did. She commented that her feet were not moving a lot but it sure felt good to dance. When my husband walked in she called him by name and asked him to dance with her. After they danced we helped her sit in her chair. She sat a while then started to get up to fix supper (been almost 2yrs since she has done that. I took her to the kitchen (walking with walker). She sat down at the table, commented on the food that it sure was good and ate very well. She was still in an excellent mood when we left, thanked us for coming and asked when I would be back. In the past week and a half she has been better than she has for at least the past two years. Has anyone heard of this happening? Myself and The caregivers that I have helping me care for my parents are shocked by her daily improvements.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
12

Answers

Show:
She's off the drugs. Haldol was a disaster for my dad. It caused horrible hallucinations and paranoia. Ativan has very good uses, when give as needed, but it's a powerful drug. Medication side effects often mimic dementia. So can an infection such as her UTI.
There is a place for medication, certainly, and we are grateful for when it's there and can help, but what happened to your mother is not uncommon. However, I can't imagine why the doctor increased the dosage of a drug that was creating such horrible side effects.
Please consider a geriatrician if one if available in your area. These doctors specialize in taking care of elders, and they are far more likely to carefully track medications.
Congratulations on your mother's improvement. It must make your heart sing!
Take care,
Carol
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

UTIs are notorious for causing hallucinations and delusions, at least in the elderly. I've had one recently and got it treated promptly. As far as was aware, I did not hallucinate, but you'd better believe I got tested as soon as I suspected a problem!

Drugs can be such a blessing, and such a curse! It absolutely infuriates me to hear of patients being given meds in spite of clearly listed allergies to the drug. When it is known that certain drugs have a reputation for highly variable results from person to person, then very careful and very slow titration is necessary. It becomes a well-monitored trial. Why on earth would anyone not believe the results of that trial, and repeat it inspite of previous failures?

Some drugs are worth trying, even though there can be known adverse reactions. But for heaven's sake, if those adverse reaction occur, STOP using the drug! And list it as an allergy. And don't try it again. Grrrrrr.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

If no one can come up with a medical reason for this, then I'd say it was a gift from God and just be thankful. Either way, it's a gift.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

What a great story!

And yes, there probably is a medical reason -- she is off drugs that were causing bad reactions.

My husband's geriatrician says she can think of very few of situations where haldol is justified.

For better or worse, drugs are very powerful. My motto is better living through chemisry. My husband takes mor than 20 pills a day. They are VERY carefully monitored by his geriatrician and the nuerologist who treats his dementia. Each one contributes to his overall well being. I am grateful for them. But seeing how powerfully they help him, I imagine they could have powerfully negative effects for someone they are not suitable for. Drugs are like the little girl with the curl. When they are good they are very very good, and when they are bad they are horrid.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Yes, the same thing happened to my mother. She was prescribed Haldol and it made her so much worse. I was against that drug from the beginning. Namenda did the same thing. She just wasn't herself. And the patch, OMG. I can't say much for Resperidol. It calms her down "sometimes." But I don't want her to be a Zombie. She keeps asking to go out to the restaurant. Just reading your post, I think I'll walk down the block with her tomorrow and eat lunch out. I'm so broke since I lost my job due to her outbursts. But I know that she misses doing things. Thanks for your great post. I've heard a lot about not using drugs for fear of being worse off then before. But like in nursing homes, it's an escape, an easy way out to calm a patient. If a family member or HHA who is smart in dementia care (ours is not at all) could find alternative methods to work with the patient, especially by using different methods of communication that would be wonderful. I have not found one HHA who understands the dynamics of working with someone who has dementia. I really can't stand the one we have now and I know for a fact my mother feels the same way. I hope Assisted Living has well trained people working with their residents. It takes a lot of training to know how to do this and the agencies seem to think it isn't that important. We had one aide who said, "Does your mother have Alzheimers, if she does, I'm leaving." I asked her to leave immediately. Happy that your mother is doing better. It must be such a great feeling.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I wonder how long this lady was on Ativan? My aunt reacted to Ativan with dementia-like symptoms. Her daughter recognized the problem and it took many months to get her straightened out. A year or 2 later my aunt went into a nursing home and they gave her Ativan again even though she was allergic to it. This went on for a year - they decided she had dementia but haven't actually addressed the Ativan which is likely to have caused the demented behaviour!! Decided she needed Haldol and she was a zombie for a month or 2. Poor woman. The med POA turns a blind eye. So that is why I wonder how long the lady in this original story was on Ativan because it may have mimicked dementia.I think the only people helped by the Haldol my Aunt gets is the staff who don't have to do anything for her! I was wondering about the UTI comment - how does that contribute to dementia-like behaviour?
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

What a great story. Enjoy every minute!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Helpful Answer (0)
Report

for Georgi, you stated OMG about the patch; what have you experienced with that? My mother has been using it for about 18 month now.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My father seemed "unfogged" when we stopped the Namenda and Aricept patch. We waited for a few years thinking that although it didn't seem to be doing anything, we heard that it slowed down the process. About 2 months ago the dr advised that dad had progressed past the point of using these two meds. He has been in stage 7 for at least a year (probably 2 or 3 but we are in denial). Within 2 weeks we were commenting that although he isn't "better" per se, he seemed less zombie like. That was 2 months ago. He has surprised us by doing things he hasn't done in years, albeit fleetingly. He is more aware and actually spent an entire afternoon joining in with family during their visit. He answered a few questions correctly with real words in short sentences. He hasn't done that in years. He even made a joke. It touched us to the point of tears of joy. He seemed to revel in the socializing even when we couldn't understand what he was saying. Normally, he just stares or sleeps during visits.
While he is not drastic like georgi's mom or yours, he seems much better to us. He is still trapped in stage 7 but he appears more with it. He is on an antidepressant and mood stabilizer but we won't stop those because he is easily agitated and tortured without them. We know we have limited time and the dr says enjoy it while it lasts because as with everything else with this horrible disease....we just don't know what tomorrow brings. He seems to have fewer outbursts but the one down side is that even though he cannot walk or stand unassisted, he seems to forget that and he frequently attempts to do that. He did make it out of his room and to the hallway one time but fell. He doesn't usually get to full standing before going down and if he does he only takes a step or two. Thankfully he has not hurt himself but we can't leave him out of our sight for a second. Tonight I went to the bathroom when I thought he was sleeping and returned to him on the floor next to his bed. He was just mad and then smiled when I suggested we go have ice cream.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions