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Todoay my husband was diagnosed with beginning Alzheimer’s. The doctor wants to put him on Aricept if the heart doctor ok's it. He has a pacemaker. He is 85 years old and part of the IDEAS program (Imaging Dementia Evidence for Amyloid Scanning). I am stressed right now. It seems to me this topic has been mentioned in the past. Would someone tell me of their experiences with Aricept? I seem to remember It didn't work well. The doctor said one of the side effects was diarrhea and he has that already because of health problems. I would appreciate any feedback.


I have been watching this site for about 2 years. I want all of you to know I have really appreciated all the comments I see. What a wonderful bunch of people all of you are. I know this part of my journey through life is just starting.

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Hi my mom has been on it for a year. She had neuro psych testing done last August. I guess if I take her back for follow up ( as suggested last year by the neuro psychologist). I would have a definite answer clinically. How ever all I can say is some days are better and many are worse from a year ago. I don't think aricept has helped that much
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Hard to say because some folks do OK on it, some don't. I put Mom on it in the beginning of her dementia diagnosis. I was told it just kept it "at bay" for about a year. I did not notice it affected her negatively in anyway. After the year was up, I asked if there was any point to continue or if their was anything else that would help. He said there wasn't. Mom is now past the halfway point in dementia, it is becoming all consuming because there is no more cognitve conversations, no more common sense, just arguing and excuses why she can't do this, won't do that, it's become a nightmare.
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2 hours after the Dr. appointment, he forgot the doc had showed us the brain scan. He is letting me do more and more of the finances and doctor's calls etc. He is doing great with yard work, hobbies, cooking. things like that. He did say last night when I started crying that he had wondered what was going on with his brain and he was glad to have a diagnosis.

I checked and our Trust attorney is a certified elder care and memory care attorney. He has been with my husband's immediate and extended family for many years. My husband is next to the youngest in his family.

Right now, he is very easy to get along with. I am so grateful for that.
Thank everyone for your comments and what you are doing every day.
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Ramble away. Personally, I think I'd be raving, not just rambling.

Of course things are going round in circles in your head; but in your case, it's all the *right* things. And you only heard yesterday! - be fair, take the time you need to let the questions fall into their proper order.

How is your husband feeling?
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Also, I am going to see my Trust Attorney soon to discuss this new development.
As far as I know he is a Elder Care Specialist, but I will find out for sure.
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Thank all of you so much for your help. I know you all understand how much I appreciate it. Already I don't feel so alone.

Sunnygirl1
I could tell something wasn't "right" with My husband. We already had all of our doctors but his heart/pacemaker doctor at Loma Linda University Medical Center. Dr. Labib is a specialist in Geriatrics at LL. He accepted us and got us into this IDEAS (Imaging Dementia Evidence for Amyloid Scanning) program sponsored by Medicare. A special PET scan with radioactive dye was installed at the medical center just to identify Alzheimer's. We both got into the program. The Doctor asked me if I wanted to participate, and when he said husband had some dementia I asked if he could be put in the program also. The doctor has a certificate in reading this particular scan so he can see for himself what the results are. He showed first me (I was the first patient at that location in the study) in March. I only have "normal wear and tear of my brain". Marty had his PET scan last week and the doctor told him yesterday it is Alzheimer's. Showed us the difference in his brain compared to a normal brain.

My husband turned 85 in January. I turned 83 in June. My mind is full of questions, scenarios, all of them running in circles in my head. Most of them cannot be answered, only time will tell what will happen.

The doctor wants to put him on Aricept if his Heart/pacemaker doctor is ok with it. If not he wants to put him on the other drug. Can't think of the name right now. The two doctors have to talk. After reading the kind posts from all of you I feel easier about it. I know I am panicked. I also know this is a long journey for us. We have a Trust, every thing paid for, but no long term health care insurance. Oh, well, this is what savings are for. I am starting to ramble.

Thanks again so very much.
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MaryKathleen, what a blow this diagnosis must be. Here are the 2 experiences I observed with this drug. One person was put on it at age 95. Didn't tolerate it very well, so I discontinued it after several months. The 2nd person went on it at age 90 and was on it for close to 10 years. I have no idea if it was the drugs or just the individual, but the second example stayed lucid for far longer than the first. I agree with Jeanne, it's worth a try.
You don't mention your husband's age. Would that affect your decision?
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Talk to your local pharmacist and tell him/her what are your husband's other health conditions and medications. Ask the pharmacist what has he has seen in his patients, what is the latest clinical pharmacology research for this drug in your husband's age group, and what is the best and worst case scenario with this drug; obviously the best case scenario is no side effects. :-)

Medical doctors can get a financial incentive from the pharma companies to recommend/to kindly push a drug. I'm not saying your husband's doctor is one of them - but there are plenty of other doctors that do receive compensation for recommending Aricept (and any other drug, frankly).

At 85 years old, really think about what is best for his quality of life. You have a choice. Don't feel rushed or pushed into making a decision. As you move forward in your husband's care, don't feel obliged to accept the first doctor's recommendations - for any treatment. Get several opinions, if you can.
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Mary Kathleen,
I'm so sorry that you're on this journey with us. My father-in-law, Mother and now my Husband all take (took) Aricept. They tolerated it well and it helped extend the early stages as long as possible. It's not a miracle drug, but it's among the best available.
Blessings,
Jamie
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That must have come as a blow, MaryKathleen, I'm very sorry to hear it.

I'll come back for updates. Just hugs.
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Aricept was very helpful for my husband, who had Lewy Body Dementia, for many years. Although it was developed for Alzheimer's and is only FDA approved for Alzheimer's, it is often less effective in that disease. In my opinion it is worth trying. Watch side effects closely. If there are problems, tell the doctor you want to discontinue it. Then also watch for effectiveness. Ask the doctor how you will know it is working. And if it doesn't work, again ask to have it discontinued. There was originally some hope and expectation that Aricept would slow the progression of the dementia. We now know that that is not true. Dementia is going to keep on progressing at its own rate. The best we can hope for is that medications can relieve some of the symptoms for at least a while. It does for some people. If your husband happens to be one of them, hooray! If not, no harm done for trying it.
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I wish I knew more about Aricept. I try to read as much about that type of mediation as possible.

I did find an article about the program that your husband is participating. I'd never heard of it. I'm going to send you the link by Private message.

Have they said they are pretty sure that he has Alzheimers and not another condition that causes dementia? I might confirm this, since, I think those medications are primarily for those with Alzheimers.

I'd discuss the potential side effects with his doctor and have a plan for what happens if he can't take the med.
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Mary, so sorry to read that hubby was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

I am moving this post back to the front page to see if there are any caregivers who are familiar with Aricept.
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