Are there any meds that help dementia patients with anxiety and anger that don't make them zonked?

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Mom's caregiver at night says she is becoming more confused and anxious in the evening. Says she wants to go home (she already is) wants to be alone, wants to call 911 on everyone. Got up last week and wanted to make breakfast at 130am. It takes a while to calm her down . The caregiver says there are meds she could take. I can't see Mom taking a pill when she's all worked up like that but maybe there is some thing she could take daily. Something that won't zonk her. I made her an appt in a few weeks but would like some suggestions about what you have done to deal with this problem.

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Top Answer
You call her MD now, and get a mild anxiolytic to start with. It won't zonk her. You add meds in a low dose and increase only enough to calm her, not knock her out. Then when you see the MD in a few weeks, you review the effectiveness. If you do nothing, the caregiver usually quits.
I've tried both Ativan and lexapro low dosages for morning panic attacks neither works..They both make her sluggish when she awakes and last to well into the afternoon.. I just have to try to calm her down on my own..

I've been told by DR that the effects are different with every dementia patient...

She has an appt next week and we will be seeing about a geriatric neurologist and psychiatrist because the panic attacks are almost daily and I'm about to loose my mind too!! LOL
Yes. There are definitely meds that can help calm dementia patients without zonking them.

But they all require trial-and-trial-again. This is true of "natural" remedies as well as prescriptions. If the first thing you try works, hallelujah! But it is more usual to adjust dosages, try different drugs, try some combinations, and finally arrive at the most effective with the least side effects.

Our neurologist's rules were to
1) try ONLY ONE new drug or remedy at a time. If you are taking multiple new drugs how will you know which one has the side effect?
2) start at a very small dose and titrate up until the dose is effective or you've reached the max without success
3) reevaluate the entire drug mix frequently

I don't know how we would have gotten through the 10-year dementia journey without a patient, knowledgeable doctor well versed in available drug therapy. We were very fortunate that my husband responded very well to medications. In the letter explaining his autopsy results the doctor remarked on that fact and said "we don't know why" drugs were especially useful for Coy. Wouldn't it be great if doctors had some clues, some biomarkers, that would reduce the experimentation and help them chose the best drugs right from the start, or to know that drugs would not be successful? My dear husband donated brain tissue for such research.

By the way, seroquel was one of the most useful drugs for Coy. It did turn him into a complete zombie for about 2 hours. I learned to give it to him only after he had his pajamas on and was in the bedroom. I wouldn't have given him any during the day. I know others who take a few doses throughout the day, and some who have tried it and it made matters worse for them.

Each brain is absolutely unique. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions. But there are solutions. Hang in there!
I too have been losing my mind with trying to find medications that can work to resolve issues or behaviors that are bothersome (drive you nuts) and trying to find something that does not sedate them to the point they are sleeping.

My Mom is one of those unlucky people that many medications were tried on and they did not seem to work. We have heard how great Seroquel was so it was tired and it was like she was taking water, same with Haldol, Valium and several others. Remeron and Celexa worked until she began getting headaches and had to come off, although they did make her tired and sluggish.

Now she is on Ativan .25mg 3 times a day and Ambian 2.5 mg at night and she is wide awake, not sluggish, BUT I have to tell you that this JUST BARELY controls her and sometimes, does not control her. I think it needs to be increased or add some Xanax to it, because she can and does drive me nuts! It does not relieve any of the bad behaviors. She will ask me 50 times a day if the dog has been fed, she will get mad and decide SHE WILL FEED THE DOG WHEN SHE WANTS AND WHAT SHE WANTS...(THE DOG IS ILL AND ON A SPECIAL DIET). She gets angry with me and says very mean hurtful things...."I am tired of looking at your face, pack your s--t and get out, you can live on the streets, what have you EVER done for me" You name it and it rolls out of her mouth! I have cared for her for 8 years and her sister, my father and brother in law for a total of 17 years. I am her POA for Medical and Financial and I do about 99% of everything that has to be done for her, so when she spouts off this stuff and does it for so many years, you do not care if "it is just the disease talking" you get upset eventually and I am about ready for her to go into a facility. It isn't what I wanted and is the opposite of why I took her POA, but mentally, physically and emotionally, this disease is not just a "person killer" it is a "family killer!" I am ready for it to end.

When we look at these medications, we want them to have as much of themselves as possible for as long as possible, but when their actions and behaviors become such that we or our paid caregivers can no longer handle them or put up with their behaviors, I think we need to either increase meds or change them. My mother could go on living with these same exact medications, but I CANNOT GO ON LIVING WITH HER TAKING THESE MEDICATIONS, she is too difficult for ME TO HANDLE!

So if you are paying someone to care for your mother, you need to look at other medications that may make her a bit sleepier, but if your caregiver cannot take it any longer, chances are YOU WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO HANDLE IT EITHER AND YOU NEED TO MAKE CHANGES.

My two sibling have no idea what I go through daily, they come over to visit and Mom is fine all day on her best behavior. On Monday when everyone is gone, she is back, screaming and yelling at me.

Don't lose a good caregiver, make sure to tell her you will get on it immediately and see about some changes.

Good Luck and Best Wishes
My mother who recently passed away was on Namdnda. It helped her a lot with her memory and anxiety.
Hug your mother everyday! Mind USB ' there any longer and I miss her hugs!
Namenda seemed to help with some of Moms anxiety. : ) Good luck.
Try some Melatonin at night or an antihistamine. Give those in the lowest dosages and see if they work. Let the doctor know what you have tried when you do see him/her. Try a bath with Epsom salt as it has magnesium (mostly) and it will relax her too.
While the FDA issues warnings that anti-psychotic meds may lead to death, factual evidence presents that a patient who is waving a twelve-inch butcher knife at others is at considerably greater risk of imminent demise.
My Mom has the same problem. She takes Ativan in the evening. It does make her sleepy, but it helps her sleep through the night. She takes a small dosage in the morning to keep things consistent.
Ask your mom's doctor about Risperdal, just 1 mg. by mouth each day-it is an antipsychotic drug, one I have worked with a lot & my husband who suffers Solvent Dementia has been on it for 17 years now & I could not deal with him otherwise. I am a Psychiatric R.N. & have worked in the field for over 40 years now. Just put it out there to the doctor & if he is open to it-do it for your own sanity.
I have found that I tend to stay with the drugs that are tried & been used for some time. So many of the newer drugs have devastating side effects.
Low doses of Xanax work for panic attacks, as well as Clonazepam, as a matter of fact, same drug compound-one acts fast the other has a longer half life & stays with the patient longer.
Blessings be....

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