Do the medications that are supposed to slow the progression of Alzheimer's work?

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The neurologist said they don't really do much, and my brother looked them up on a medical website and the medical community said they weren't good for much. Yet, I've heard of quite a few patients taking them. If they do even a little good I'd rather have that than nothing. And, does anyone know how much they cost? Thank you so much!

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Thanks, everyone. I'm glad to learn about the meds. I'd like to at least try them, like Jinx suggested.
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This has been a question I've had too. I decided that the only way to find out if they work is to stop giving them to my husband. And then decided if we stopped - would he get worse. Since he tolerates them well - I decided to not risk finding out! A quandary, for sure. Hang in there.
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We get a bulletin from Johns Hopkins University discussing this problem. Apparently, there is a 50-50 split among the doctors who treat dementia about these medicines. Half always offer them. Half never do. We have good insurance, so the cost isn't a problem, and I have noticed an improvement - small but definite - in my husband's function. He hasn't had any side effects. He has ALZ type dementia, and they are supposed to help that.

The only way to know if they will help YOUR loved one is to try them. Trying is also the only way to know if she will get side effects. If Aricept doesn't work, then they can try something else. Maybe nothing will work. I agree with you - why not try? If there is no benefit, you can always stop them after 3 to 6 months.

How far along is she in dementia? The improvement won't be huge, so if she is far along, it might not be worth it. But if she is still able to do some things, the medication might help her do a little more for a little longer. They won't delay death, but the end will not be pretty, so that's OK with me.

I looked at our monthly prescription statement, and they say the insurance paid $37.66 for a one month supply of Aricept, 2 a day, 5 mg. Not dirt cheap, but not astronomical, either.

Tell your brother you won't know if they help YOUR mother if you don't try them. In 6 months, you can stop them if they don't work.
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My MIL is on Namenda and Aricept and they seem to be helping her some. She's taking better care of herself anyway. She still gets confused easily though. I didn't realize how bad the confusion was until the guy from the gas company was on the phone with me telling me she was known to get confused. They had to come out to fix something and needed to get into her house to either get her heat going or her stove, can't remember which and I had to tell her it was ok to let the guy in. Sorry, got off on a tangent. The neurologist put her on Namenda and at the time I didn't know why because she had been on it before and she didn't tolerate it well, but she seems to be not only tolerating it well, it seems to be helping some. As far as prices it's going to depend on whether or not you have insurance. My MIL has Medicare so she gets her meds pretty cheap. I don't know how much the meds cost normally. Some meds she gets though would come with a hefty price tag if she didn't have Medicare.
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Ooops, sorry. You asked about prices. I'm sure that would depend on which drug(s) you were talking about, the dosages, whether there are generic brands available and whether insurance co-pays come into play, etc. I'd suggest you call whatever pharmacy you would be using to find an answer to that question.
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Anne...
I'm not really sure if the AD meds my Dad takes do anything for him; on the other hand, if they were stopped, what would he be like? The bottom line is, we DON'T know if they're helping, or if his disease is moving along at the pace it normally would have without meds, or if the meds are nothing more than a placebo. But I wouldn't want to stop the meds to find out. I've read posts from people who say that they have started a med and their loved one is better or has shown an improvement; and I've read of those who've started a med and gone downhill faster than they previously were. All the AD meds say, if you read the literature that comes with them or that you find on their website, that they MAY help, that they MAY slow the course of the disease, etc. None of them are a cure, and its possible they may help, but I personally don't think anyone really knows, whether its the drug company or the patient or the patient's family. My Dad started out with the regular AD drugs -- Aricept, Namenda, something called Stalevo -- and had such horrible side effects with all those that he couldn't take any of them. He now takes Exelon in patch form, Seroquel and Sinemet. He probably also has Lewy Body Dementia with Parkinsonism rather than AD, which might account for him having so many side effects to the first three drugs. While nothing will cure AD, the meds prescribed may help extend the "better" stages of the disease so that the final stage or stages are shortened. This is what we hope for with my Dad. As bad as he is now, we'd rather have him in this stage a little longer so that hopefully when he does hit that final stage it will end quickly.
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