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My mom was recently diagnosed with Mixed Dementia (Alzheimer's disease coexisting with vascular dementia); at this time she is middle-stage and progressing. The doctor prescribed Memantine to help slow down the progression. I was wondering if anyone had a loved one taking this medication and if so, has it helped?

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NancyP63, I have called Ferris out on her mean, stupid comments more than once. I have specifically asked her to STOP saying "why would you care about/bother with such and such since the person has a terminal illness?" I can't count the times that has been her response to a poster's question about care, everything from meds to dental care. It's cruel, and that is unacceptable. She's a known troll on this site and I (and others) have reported her comments (including this one) several times. When you see her name and picture, you can ignore everything that comes after it.
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Thank you Christine73 for your reply. My mom complained yesterday (4th day of med) that she was a bit light-headed and off balance. Also commented that she felt fuzzy (in her head). I called out local district nurse and she said that they could be symptoms that will pass once my mom's body gets used to this new medication. But not to worry unless the symptoms become more pronounced as we have a doctor's appt next Monday. I also appreciate you addressing the comment referring to AZ as a terminal illness that couldn't be treated. I was upset first of all to see the word terminal. My mom's diagnosis is very recent and I ma just beginning to adjust to her condition and the 'bad' days. I would not like to be reminded that AZ is terminal. I already know that and also know that no medicine can cure my mom. But if a medicine can possibly give her more years of 'normal' then of course I and she want to try it...
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They Mayo Clinic's website has this to say: "Alzheimer's drugs offer one strategy to help manage memory loss, thinking and reasoning problems, and day-to-day function. Unfortunately, Alzheimer's drugs don't work for everyone, and they can't cure the disease or stop its progression. Over time, their effects wear off."

The article is short and high-level, but offers good basic information. It is here:
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/in-depth/alzheimers/art-20048103
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I was at an all-day conference sponsored by the regional Alzheimer's Association, for professionals and caregivers. A researcher spoke about progress with drug development. There have only been 5 drugs approved for treatment of dementia. They have a very disappointing success rate. This is largely because we have been trying to fix something when we don't really understand what is broken. He said categorically that NONE of the approved drugs has been proven to "slow down" or in any way change the inevitable trajectory of the disease. If they help, they help with the symptoms in the here-and-now.

When my husband was prescribed Aricept (another one of the 5) I recall ready a study done in the UK comparing large numbers who took the drug to those who did not, over a long period (with all the scientific controls in place) and they found no difference in the length of disease time before care centers were needed.

But we tried the drug anyway. Low and behold, it was awesome for my husband, and he did not even have the kind of dementia it was developed and approved for. Several other non-dementia drugs proved highly successful for him as well. My motto became "better living through chemistry."

I urge you to try this dementia-approved drug with your loved one. Maybe your mom will be one of the lucky ones and you really will see a difference. It would certainly be worth the time, effort, and cost, if that turns out to be the case. Obviously it won't cure. It won't even stop the inevitable trajectory. But if it relieves a few of the symptoms for a few years, that is the best we can hope for in the present state of the art. If you try it for six months without any noticeable improvement, then I think I'd discuss with the doctor discontinuing it.

(By the way the presentations on new approaches to research to come up with specific "broken" items that drug companies can concentrate on "fixing" was very impressive. Not happening tomorrow, though.)
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btw, my Mom was also diagnosed with a mixed dementia of vascular plus Alzheimer's. Although memantine is rated for late dementia, the geriatricians were impressed that using it on her in the earlier stages seemed to be helpful. We never noticed negative side effects; if there are going to be any from it they usually manifest right away. Positive effects are supposed to take 4-12 weeks to show up. I'd give it a shot if I were you, but get just a couple week's supply at first to see if there are negative effects.
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Mom was on memantine (called Ebixa here in Canada) from 2007 to 2012. It was combined at various times with Aricept and Reminyl. As the Aricept lost its efficacy, they'd switch to Reminyl then back again for the same reason. She's been off Ebixa since just recently starting it again. She had a remarkably slow progression of the disease (according to the geriatrician), and perhaps those drugs were the reason. After many years caring for her at home, it was finally too much for one person, and her negative behaviors (hitting, yelling, biting) were too difficult. The nursing home we found kicked her out in less than 24 hours and she was shipped off to the only secure ward in Victoria that can handle violent behaviors. They took her off all her psychiatric drugs, wondering if they were having a negative effect, then started her back on the memantine. It's been a couple of weeks and I've seen no improvement, only decline. Frankly, she's in the final lap of her disease as far as I can tell, and moving her was bound to hasten the decline, so I can't lay it at the door of the drugs or no drugs. I was surprised, though, that there weren't more nursing homes/wards able to handle aggressive behavior. Is it really that uncommon in dementia patients?
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My mother was on Namenda (Memantine) for years. She took it along with Aricept, and later with Excelon which we switched to, after the Aricept no longer seemd to help. But honestly, I don't think any of them helped at all. Certain did not see "improvement". And whether any of them slowed the progress of her dementia, is anybody's guess. It was certainly not a perceptible slowing, if it slowed at all, since the worsening of the dementia never seemed to slow. We only kept her on it, because we just didn't know what else to do. We also tried the same routine with Dad when his dementia started, and progressed. Although we could not keep him on the Namenda because he had an allergic reaction to it. Believing in the effectiveness of these drugs is a little like believing in a higher being. Most of us see no real evidence of this existence, but we keep on trying to believe anyway. After all, if it's not so, we lose all hope.
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My mother took it for 8 years. It helped immensely in the beginning. My mother felt the difference, and expressed as much. Toward the 7- or 8 year mark, it did not help as much, but still did something. What I mean by that is that her condition progressed beyond the perception of the help the drug was providing, but yes, it was still helping. And yes, the progression of her illness was slowed. You realize just how much the drug is doing when it is stopped, and everything it was holding back comes rushing in.

My mom did not experience any negative side effects. I would say try it.

I disagree with Ferris, and whoever found her answer helpful is also ignorant. Having worked in the pharmaceutical industry, I know how hard it is to get a drug released to the public. If it was as useless as she claims, it would not have been passed. I also disagree with the "who cares" mentality that advocates not taking proper care of people with Alzheimer's or dementia because they will eventually die. The Alzheimer's death could take 20 years. To neglect a patient's other medical needs during that time is abuse. Not treating conditions that are treatable (like Alzheimer's) is also abuse. To say Namenda doesn't slow the progression of the illness when the manufacturer had to prove just that to get the drug passed is ignorant.

Remember, life is also a terminal condition. Should we neglect our own care because we're going to die anyway? No, that would be stupid.

I really wish that people on this forum would answer the questions that are asked. The OP asked if anyone had *experience with the drug. So all the answers should discuss our experience with the drug, NOT unfounded opinions.
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3rdtime - my mom is the same, good days & bad days. Some days she does really well and other days she asks questions like why did we move her, I liked the other place. Well she has lived with me for at least 18 months and I've lived here for 14 years. I'm hoping that this medicine will help her have more good
days for several years.....

Some of you mentioned sleep medicine. We had a hard time finding something that the doctor would prescribe which would work. Finally have had pretty good success with Mirtazapine. 1/4 of a pill about 1½ hrs before she goes to bed and most nights she sleeps well.
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Thank you all for your replies. Today is day 4 on the memantine and she complained of feeling dizzy & off-balance through the day. I called the helath center and was told that unless it gets really bad she can continue to take it as we have a doctor's appointment next Monday. The nurse said if could be a temporary side-affect as the body gets used to the new medicine. The doctor did tell me that it only helps some people and of course it is no cure but may hopefully slow down the progression of the disease.
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My mom was taken off Namenda and Trazadone. Especially feel the trazadone made her do crazy stuff like talk out in a dream state all night. Also something called Respidol or something like that. Luckily, my mom was misdiagnosed with dementia several years ago and after a uti and nursing home rehab, has been off the medicines that had her out of her head. Started going to a holistic doctor. Previously we found Doctors Best Best Phosphatidyl Serine at the health food store and keep her on that and cranberry tabs also. We think that works wonders. Fingers crossed, she has not had a uti in a year (was having them every month).
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This drug has so many side effects, and when someone has a terminal illness, do you really think a pill is going to slow or stop that progression? Doctors prescribe it, not so much for the patient, but for the caregiver who usually want a "pill" to cure all. No pill will cure, slow or change a dementia diagnosis.
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My mother has been taking Namenda for over six years in combination with Aricept. Her symptoms stabilized for the first two years or longer. Then her symptoms started to progress. I cannot say whether it was the Aricept or the Namenda or both that helped. Bear in mind that these drugs provide symptomatic relief only. They do not address the underlying disease itself which continues to progress. That said, symptomatic relief or stability is nonetheless welcome.
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My Mom's been on it for a couple months. I can't tell if it's doing anything. We also recently switched from Trazodone to Remeron for a sleeping aide. Her aggressive moods are coming on stronger now - and are less predictable. Also, she exhibits bizarre behavior in the wee morning hours. Does anyone have experience with either drug causing increased aggression or bizarre (crawling on the floor, etc.) behaviors?
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My mom was on memantine for a short period of time. She began to experience side effects and her doctor determined that we should take her back off. I honestly could not tell that it had made any difference whatsoever, but it might have been too short of a period to tell. I have found through my journey that most of the medicines had very limited effect and worked only over a short period of time. We have also tried some natural things that seem to have had some effect. Coconut oil is amazing.and I did see positive results with that. I would give her about 1/4 cup throughout the day mixed in yogurt. I also gave her what her Doctor called her Alzheimer Cocktail which was Tumeric, Liquid B complex in lightly sweetened green tea. I can't tell you for sure if it helped with her AL but it did help with her arthitis and she felt it was a treat. Maybe some of these things can help you as well.
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Mum had the same diagnosis. She was on memantine for about 9 months. It was meant to slow the progress but she still had her good days and bad days. She's been off it about 1 year now. It slowed her heart rate to dangerously low levels so she had to come off it. If it wasn't for the slow heart rate side affects she would probably still be on it. We were happy to try it. Not sure if it slowed anything down the psych said it would be difficult to tell as each journey is different. But I'll would try it if it could possibly help. Some days her vocabulary and thought processes are such that I wonder if it's a misdiagnosis. Other days I know it isn't. The nature of the journey- it's my second time with a dementia parent. Good luck watch for the side affects.
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