Has anyone ever made the decision to stop there elderly loved one from taking Alzheimer’s medication?

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My mother has stage 6 Alz and acts afraid and anxious most of the time. The doctors say that the two prescriptions she takes, Aricept and Namenda, may or may not be keeping the symptoms at bay. It seems almost cruel at times to keep her on these meds to prolong her life when she really has no quality of life anymore. She doesn't know her family. Has anyone had to make the decision to discontinue the meds?

Answers 1 to 10 of 27
My husband is in stage late 6/7. His doctor suggested I stop the meds as they were having no effect on him either way. He is the same with or without them. I struggled for a long time whether i was doing right or not but finally decided to listen to his doctor. There is living and then there is just being alive.
This is a very unfair disease!
I took my Mom off of the namenda for it wasn't working any longer & the doc' said this probably would happen, so they ok'd it. In fact, by her taking it, the med was making her worse! My Mom is only at stage one. Keeping her hydrated, having her walk & light exercise & giving her gummie vitamins has actually proved to increase her memory(wierd!)
3seraphim - you could be describing my mom! She's exactly the same. My mom has been on them for about 15 months.

How do you know if it's helping or not? I hate to take my mom off the drugs since I don't know if she'll get worse.
Yes I too stopped all meds on the advise of his doctor. Nothing was making a difference so all meds were stopped about a year ago. He stays very irritated but other than that I see no difference in him at all since stopping the meds.
God Bless you and hugs for you as a caregiver, it is a really hard job.
I figured this question had already been asked, regarding stopping Alzheimer's meds, but wanted to let others know what is happening with my mom. She has been on Aricept for probably 8 years. She can still walk, but is incontinent, has to be fed, only knows my dad, has garbled speech. I would say she is in late stage. She has been refusing medication for several months off and on, so about a month ago dad stopped her aricept, and some other meds. Well, she has gotten much worse. She can hardly walk, she is agitated pretty much all day and more difficult to care for. We had her at the doc last week and he gave us rx for Seroquel but Dad is afraid to give it to her, and of course, there is no guarantee that she would take it anyway. So, no her "memory" isn't worse, but her behavior is, and her mobility. I understand at this point, why prolong the inevitable, but I do feel this will make it harder for her to remain at home.
I asked this question of a professor at UCLA during an Alzheimer's convention in Seattle. He put up a chart that showed the decline of memory over time for those taking Aricept and Namenda. When the drugs were stopped, memory loss plummeted. My wife has been on them for 5 years now. I think they have slowed things down. She is starting to go into stage 6 now, I believe.
I believe it. I know when Mom was first diagnosed she was put on something other than Aricept. She frequently complained of a headache, so Dad let her go off. She declined almost immediately, and so we got her on Aricept. As I said, she still has declined, but not so much that we weren't able to manage her at home. Perhaps it is not the same for everyone, but I would advise, until they are at least immobile, and nearing the end, the meds are helping somewhat to keep them more manageable.
I don't think that Aricept and Namenda "prolong life" -- they just treat certain symptoms. If they are no longer working it makes sense to stop them, but about the only way to tell is to go without them for a trial period. I would only drop one at a time so if there is a difference you'll know which drug made it.

My husband was on 6 different drugs for symptoms that went with his dementia. He did very well on them for about 8+ years. In his final year when he went on hospice many of his drugs (these 6 and others) were dropped and only "comfort" meds were given. It soon became apparent that he really needed to be on his dementia pills. It is a "comfort" not to be agitated and anxious, for example. And these drugs did nothing to prolong his life, just to keep up his quality of life until the very end. Hospice was OK with this.

peoplepleaser, my husband took Seroquel for more than nine years, in a small dose. I simply could not have kept him at home all that time without it, and he would have been miserable without it. It is VERY scary giving our loved ones these high-powered drugs, but sometimes doing without them is even scarier.
Jeanne, I hope I can print out your answer and show it to my dad. It is obvious that the Aricept was helping to keep agitation at bay. We are meeting with a hospice nurse next week, and I'm hoping he will be able to guide us. It looks like Mom will need some medication to keep her comfortable, but she has to be willing to take it. Thank you so much for your response.
I have had the same thoughts. Why keep my mom on all of these medications? My mom is on synthroid, zetia, lipitor, boniva, zoloft, abilify, namenda & aricept. Due to the fact that I am long distance, my sister takes my mom for her doctor's appointments. I asked her to ask the doctor what the point was for all of these medications? Why keep the body from taking its natural course, when the mind has so traitorously deteriating? He suspended the aricept and namenda. I was kind of stunned. This was not my intention. I felt that the statins (zetia & lipitor) should be suspended. We have since restarted the aricept and namenda. I know I need to call the doctor and push the question. I know in my heart that dying of a heart attack can't be worse for my mother than her withering away. I told my husband, if this dreaded disease is my future, I would not want my body to be prevented from dying with flesh sustaining medication therapy. I feel that at this point in her life, her comfort should be our number one objective.

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