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My MIL started taking Aricept a few months ago. I didn't notice any improvement until her doctor upped her dosage. I notice a small improvement. She seems to be taking better care of herself. She was officially diagnosed with dementia this past Monday and the neurologist put her on Namenda in addition to Aricept. Her PCP had her on Namenda before and there was no improvement so I don't know why the neurologist put her back on it. So far she's not complaining about any side effects.
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I agree with BREN..Everyone's different..I don't think any of the meds are a miracle cure..
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Here is an update on my mom and Aricept. Moms condition was getting desperate. She was really agitated all the time and was making everyone miserable. I asked the neurologist if I could take her off of it, expecting an argument but he readily agreed. I was surprised, I thought he would argue. Anyway, since she has been off of it she has been much better. Less agitated, more pleasent, more with it. I think the drug companies have us wrapped up. I will not put Mom on anything else. Why go through more than we have to?
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Trust your instincts Mary4th.
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My mom has dementia, and has been on Aricept for at least 6 months. I not only do not notice any improvement with it, I am still able to see the slow decline. I have actually questioned her taking it, and wanted to try taking her off, but no one agrees with me. And it may not be a good idea to do so. It was explained to me by the doctor, as others have indicated here, that the decline would likely be worse without it. Unfortunately, that is obviously something that can't really be proven without going off of it, but who wants to risk the possibility of a faster decline?
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When it comes to the side effects of Aricept, I say watch very closely for side effects. The first time my mother was put on it, for dementia, she had diarrhea and hallucinations. I told them to never put her on it again. Well, they did it anyway, even though I had POA and Durable POA. I noticed she was sleeping all time and I asked if her meds had been changed. They said no, all the same meds. So I demanded to see her chart for myself and there it was, again. Needless to say, I hit the ceiling. After a few days she was back to normal, thankfully. She lived to 97 and could still sing all the old songs. Just be very aware!
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My wife was put on namenda, aricept and a few other things when she was diagnosed about 10 years ago with FTD. After about a year I asked the doctor to help me get her off everything so we could start over and see what actually might work. It took almost a year to get her off all the drugs, and everytime I took her off one she improved almost 100 percent. When we got her all off the neurologist said there was not anything else she could do for her.
With an expected life span of 4 - 8 years, she is getting pretty close to year 10.
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Several weeks after my Dad was prescribed Aricept he began having diarrhea. It was continuous, after every meal. We weren't sure why it was happening, and to be perfectly honest, at first we never even considered it was the med. After all, it had started so long after he began taking it. And there were viruses, etc. going around at the time. Well, one day just out of curiosity I checked out some sites and info about Aricept and found out that diarrhea was a side effect. We stopped the med that day, and within several days Dad was fine. No more diarrhea. The sad part of it is that not only did he have the diarrhea, which was horrible enough for him, but my Mom had to take care of him, get him cleaned up, wash clothes and bedsheets or, in most instances, throw them away. You really have to be careful with meds, as the doctors really only tell you the simple side effects, if that. I've found that some doctors aren't even aware of some side effects of the very drugs they prescribe.
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My husband is quite early in the process, and started Aricept about two months ago. I am pleased to report a possible improvement with no side effects.

When they talk about prolonging the middle stage and shortening the end stage, that sounds very desirable to me. It's like being healthy and happy longer, and then having the horrible part at the end be shorter. I have also heard of others who did well on Aricept.

My position is 1. Do what you think is best. 2. You can always try it and stop it if it doesn't help or makes things worse.

The doctors CAN'T know what it does or what it will do to an individual patient. The brain is still very mysterious, and each person's reaction can be different.
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As others have said, Aricept will not make the person better, just slow down the disease? or the appearance of the disease? I am unsure. Others have said Aricept causes diarrhea.....it has caused complete fecal incontinence for my family member, as well as a friend's family member. It added to the work and stress of caregiving (daily clothes cleaning, bed cleaning, chair cleaning, etc.) Would have been kind if the doctors had mentioned this.
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Yes yes yes we had two great years with Mama. It was like night and day with her on the meds.
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My 84 year old father has improved with the use of aricept. He no longer hallucinates, he knows who we are, can toilet himself, is no longer aggressive and on a low dose does not have side effects. He watches tv and tries to stay current on events. Shortfall is now he does not think he has alzheimers or any dementia but thats okay. He lives with me and is much easier to take care of now that he understands and can be involved in day to day events.
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My Dad is 90, and totally drug-free, on zero meds/chemicals. He has outlived all his eleven siblings and 5 nephews. They all followed conventional care of drugs and surgery, and are no longer alive. Dad only uses natural health care-- specific, customized, quality nutrients, chiropractic, acupuncture, and herbs, which are part of the National Institutes of Health, National Center on Complementary and Alternative Medicine. His vital signs, weight, blood labs, etc. are all excellent. At one time, he started having pill-rolling tremors. I started him on phosphatidyl choline, and in 3 hours he stopped these tremors, which have never returned. Aricept attempts to prolong the action of the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. I simple give his body the additional choline itself in capsule form, and the body knows how to use it and convert it into acetylcholine, without any side effects, only balanced neurochemistry. The preferred form is phosphatidyl choline, available without a prescription, because it is safe, made from food, which the body recognizes and accepts. As different needs arise, I fine tune his nutrient needs, or nutraceuticals. We are natural beings; thus, the body appreciates receiving the correct, natural ingredients. Then, it functions as Nature intended; not how drug makers try to force it, control it, manage it, suppress it. I prefer to support and understand the body, not try to suppress its symptoms. Symptoms are just the body's attempt to alert the owner to the need to correct imbalances. We are what we eat, breathe, digest, and eliminate. Nutrients are simply concentrated food ingredients to support the body in its natural strive to return to balance. He never meets his Medicare deductible. He never uses their drugs. He pays out-of-pocket, and prefers that over sickness and death, which are much more costly, ineffective, and terminal. It's an easy choice.
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Dad and I decided not to try any of the meds. For one thing, he likely has a frontotemporal dementia, and all the research I read on the Web showed no positive correlation between any of the existing "memory" drugs and improvement or maintenance in FTD patients. The drugs are expensive and have unpleasant side effects ... plus, we'd have to dramatically increase his caregiver visits and involvement if he goes on medications, because he can't be trusted to medicate himself properly anymore. He already has enough regular stomach upset/bowel problems that the idea of adding anything more that could upset that particular apple cart really doesn't appeal to him. He doesn't want to take anything, and I don't see any point in forcing him.
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In 2008 our mother was taking Nameda. Her condition worsened visibily. Her doctors admit that the drugs wont cure AZ but only slow it down (whats the use?) Drs. can tell us what to expect when the meds are administered but cant make any predictions without the meds. We discontinued the meds after 2 months time, mama is more herself meaning shes not wacked out and acting like a dopehead. Namenda NO! I believe that the meds for AZ do make the condition progress faster doctors know what the meds will do they can make predictions and the predictions will be close because they know what the drugs do in a body. I think that mama would have been dead if we had continued to give her those pills. IMy siblings and I agree not to "dope" her up anymore. She is slowly but surely declining . Mama is not a wild madman like the meds made her to be. For my money I don't recommend any of the AZ meds. Every one (in our neighborhood) who were caretakers, noticed a more rapid decline when AZ meds were administered. Again I don't have faith in the meds. I don't think they are good for the body. A dose of Torzine (sp) would do what those meds do. That's my opinon but please lay off the meds for a month and see if you notice a difference. I still say the meds are no good.
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In 2008 our mother was taking Nameda. Her condition worsened visibily. Her doctors admit that the drugs wont cure AZ but only slow it down (whats the use?) Drs. can tell us what to expect when the meds are administered but cant make any predictions without the meds. We discontinued the meds after 2 months time, mama is more herself meaning shes not wacked out and acting like a dopehead. Namenda NO! I believe that the meds for AZ do make the condition progress faster doctors know what the meds will do they can make predictions and the predictions will be close because they know what the drugs do in a body. I think that mama would have been dead if we had continued to give her those pills. IMy siblings and I agree not to "dope" her up anymore. She is slowly but surely declining . Mama is not a wild madman like the meds made her to be. For my money I don't recommend any of the AZ meds. Every one (in our neighborhood) who were caretakers, noticed a more rapid decline when AZ meds were administered. Again I don't have faith in the meds. I don't think they are good for the body. A dose of Torzine (sp) would do what those meds do. That's my opinon but please lay off the meds for a month and see if you notice a difference. I still say the meds are no good.
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my mom has been on several at diferent times. she will be 95 and has been on namenda probably for 8years-not sure since she went on it before I took over her care and moved her to AL. On aricept, she did get nasty, angry and we took her off and she was fine. Care4moma--interesting wha the cardiologist said about excelon. my mom was put on it and her blood pressure soared 2 days later. I took her off since nothing had changed. her regular doc claimed it could not have been the execelon-but they do not know what all these meds can do. And she has always had a low pulse, so glad to read this as it calms the "guilt" of my decision.
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As I understand it, all these meds only slow down the process...my husband has the Exelon patch, too. His appetite is terrible, but I really don't know if it's the med or just the fact that he does nothing but sleep and watch TV. I do not believe you will see any improvement with any med. It's just like taking meds for HBP or high cholesterol. Nothing will fix it; it's strictly for maintenance. Sorry there isn't better news. I don't believe the anger issues are from the med. My husband has them, too, but they are from the disease. Your Mom may have some other form of dementia other than Alzheimer's like Lewy Body dementia. Does she have any tremors? LBD is not Alzheimer's and it's not Parkinson's...but it has symptoms of both...and anger, aggression, combativeness, hallucinations, paranoia are part of it. My husband is on meds for that, too, which has helped a lot. Never a cure, but at least he is more agreeable to be around. Then, too, maybe your Mom is more aware of what is happening to her than you realize and it makes her mad...and you can't blame her. Read all you can about these diseases...all forms of dementia...you will learn a lot...maybe even more than your health care professional unless this is his field of expertise. Neurologists, neuro-psychologists and psychiatrists might be of more help than your PCP. Just a thought....God bless.
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Thank you for your comments. I have yet to hear someone saying that it definitely made a difference. It is so frustrating to do everything on a hope and a prayer. I honestly feel like she has had more anger issues since she went on it.....but who knows? I hate the burden and the guilt of making all these decisions for her. Well....today was a good day. I feel blessed to have had today:)
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My mother tried Aricept and we took her off when she complained of stomach aches and had diarreah. We won't put her on any of those meds like Namenda, etc. Side effects are not worth it. ALZ. is what it is. No drug will cure it or stop it. If you want to go a healthy route try Coconut Oil. Read about that. :) We make sure Mom eats good, she sleeps good. Drugs change all that. Do what you think is best for your parent. See how whatever drug they recommend effects him or her and go from there. Only you will see or know. Protect them from pain and always be the good person you are towards your father. :) Wish you the best!!!
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My Dad's neurologist started him out on the 9.5m Exelon patch. About a year later he upped it to 13.3, which was just okayed by the FDA at that time. We really didn't see any difference when the switch was made. I suppose if he'd stayed on the 9.5 his condition might be worse than it is now, but who knows!? As for the side effects, he does have nausea/upset stomach every day, but that could be from other meds also. He also has a decreased appetite, but its not too bad. It's really difficult to tell someone to try a medication as different people react to them in different ways. There may come a time when you'll have to make a decision, though, should her condition decline. Sometimes I wonder if we're just slapping the patch on each day hoping its doing something when it might not be. But if it somehow helps stave off the final stages for a while then I guess its worth it.
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Awhile back I asked the same question regarding the Excelon patch. My mom's doctor gave me some samples and a script to get filled if I choose to try the patch. Mom has mild to moderate dementia. I'm unsure about using the patch on mom. She's on other medications and is doing fine. Also, her cardiologist said I would really have to keep a close eye on my mom's blood pressure/pulse rate. It's already low...pulse is usually around 51...he doesn't want it going below 50. I feel like leaving well enough alone...especially since she's gone through so much already. I know the side effects would really upset her. What to do? My gut tells me to let it be.......any thoughts?
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My dad started on Aricept, but had side effects (diareah). He stopped taking it for a month before the doctor put him on the Exalon patch. I noticed a significant decline during that one month. Now, after a month on the patch he hasn't recovered what he lost, but the decline has slowed down noticeably.
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Hi lovemymomma...
My Dad was initially prescribed three meds, one after the other, after he had terrible side effects from each one. He was prescribed Aricept, Namenda and Stalevo. He's now on the Exelon patch along with a couple other meds. I don't believe that any of the meds, including Aricept, made any improvements in his Alzheimer's Disease. From what I understand, and from what I've observed throughout the course of his illness, the meds that are prescribed really don't cause any improvement. They only help to keep the patient on a more even keel as the disease progresses -- instead of the disease progressing with steep declines, very abrupt ups and downs...it progresses at a more even rate; even though the patient's health is still declining, it does so at a slower rate. It was noted at an AD educational program I attended a few days ago that the meds tend to keep a patient in the middle stages of AD longer, so that the final stages become shorter, which is really what you want to happen.

Of course, that being said, all patients are different, and I don't mean to be negative in my comments. All of the meds my Dad has been prescribed come with information that says the drug MAY improve, MAY maintain, MAY delay. And its really difficult to tell, because when a person is taking a med you really can't tell if its helping, or hurting for that matter, because you don't know what the person would be experiencing if he or she wasn't taking it. I'm happy thinking that the meds my Dad is taking now are helping to prolong his mid-stage AD so that he won't suffer for an extended period of time when he enters the late stages.
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