Why aren't any meds working?


I am caring for my father in law 84yrs. old with dementia, after my mother in law died 6 months ago he became crazy. We have tried all medications. He is nasty, he tries to hit me for no reason, doesn't sleep and no meds are working, I don't know what else to try

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ked MIRACLES for him. My sister, a RN, is totally against it but since she does not live with him and deal with the day to day I went completely over her head with my dad's doctor's blessing last July and let me tell you -- it was so horrid, so difficult that I would have done away with myself. Do NOT listen to others who say meds are not the answer. STICK with your doctor and keep trying different ones! AND ALSO, get 100% cranberry juice and feel it religiously to your parent. It helps keep UTIs away, which can turn them into absolute monsters. My dad drinks 8 oz of 100% cranberry juice a day (make sure you get the kind that lists CRANBERRY as the first ingredient! You do not want the additional sugars. Concentrated cranberry juice is OK. And stay away from anyone, anywhere, who tells you medication is WRONG. Depression runs in my family; I have been on medication since I was 20 and I am not in the least ashamed of it. We have a skewed view of mental illness in this society. Do not let people dissuade you. We aren't taking about lobotomies; we are taking about chemical imbalances in brains that medications can help. God bless you and I wish you love and caring on the hardest adventure of your life!
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You need to stay strong and keep trying different meds. I have been slammed here by sancimonious, holier-than-thou types who refuse to put their elderly on meds but I disagree. Life has enough tension, stress and worry for you to take on an unmedicated demented person. My dad is on 100 mg. of Zoloft a day and it has wor
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It would help to have more information.
1. What kind of dementia does FIL have? (frontotemporal, vascular, Lewy Body, Alzheimer's, etc.)
2. When did the dementia start? Before his wife's death?
3. What kind of doctor is treating the dementia? (GP, Internist, Geriatrician, Geriatric Psychiatrist, Behavioral Neurologist, etc.)
4. Who is selecting the drugs to try?

My husband was treated by the Chair of the Behavioral Neurology department of the Mayo Clinic, who specializes in the kind of dementia my husband had. I learned a few things that may be encouraging for you:

Six months is not enough time to try every possible drug and drug combination that could help. There are just too many drugs and too many variables. That means they may still be drug help for you. (But it may also require the right kind of doctor to find it.)

There is no cure for dementia, but symptoms can be treated and quality of life improved. You need to treat ONE symptom at a time. Our doctor asked us which symptom was most bothersome. I said inability to sleep, and that is what the doctor prescribed for first.

It is essential to try ONE drug at a time, starting at a low dose and gradually increasing the dose until either there are side effects or the therapeutic level is reached. If that drug doesn't work, there is generally something else to try in its place.

Making multiple attempts at finding an effective drug is NOT the sign of an incompetent doctor. Making no attempts or giving up after one attempt might be.

Each human brain is absolutely unique. The same drug that is a miracle for one patient may be a disaster for another patient, even with the same diagnosis.

And here is what I believe: No one should put up with abuse, even if the abuser doesn't know what he is doing and cannot help it. You need to keep yourself out of harm's way. If you need to remove FIL from your house to achieve that, so be it. Perhaps a temporary evaluative stay in a Behavioral Center could get your FIL calm enough to return to your care. Perhaps caring for him in a Memory Care unit of a nursing home would be appropriate. It placing FIL in professional care is necessary, you have not failed. You are just using the tools available to fight this horrific disease.

Please keep us informed of how you and your household are doing.
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stylanesti15~My heart goes out to you, this very difficult and heartbreaking. It can be difficult to treat these kinds of symptoms and it takes a while to find the right combination of medications because there is no one medication that will work on every patient with dementia. I suggest you take him to a dr. who specializes in the care of the elderly such as a geriatric physician. I don't know what the financial situation is but, it sounds to me like it may be time to consider placing him in a care facility. Many people are against this, but I can tell you that their many very good long term care facilities out there. If your fil is willing to go to a dr., I would schedule an appt. with a geriatric dr who would have more knowledge on what meds to use and to try different combinations. Sometimes all that is needed is an antidepressant. I have read on this site where some people give their loved on Melatonin to help them sleep at night. It is OTC but I would talk with a dr. before trying it. Some meds make the patient worse such as Ativan. I don't know about where you live, but here where I am at, we have a facility called St. Joseph's Behavioral Center where patients can be taken when out of control. They will keep them there for a few weeks, evaluate them and place them on meds. Once they have found the right combo then they release them to go home as long as the meds are continued. They will also tell you if the patient should not be living alone or if they should be placed in a skilled nursing facility. You can also call the Area on Aging in your county. I hope this helps you and let us know how things progress. Hugs to you!!
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What does his doctor say? That's where I'd start if I were you.
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