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My Mom 90yo with dementia has been on Aricept for 2 years. Her memory has gradually declined over that time to the point she needs 24 hour a day assistance. We are considering stopping the Aricept as it doesn't seem to be improving the quality of her life. We are not interested in increasing the strength or in switching to one of the other AD drugs. We are more interested in just letting nature take its course since the meds are reported to only delay the progression of the disease.
What are your experiences with stopping Aricept and other drugs used to treat Alzheimers Disease?

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I always gave them both to my husband at the same time, but gave them before bed since they can cause drowsiness. Hang in there!
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My husband takes both Aricept and Namenda xr. I give him Namenda in the morning at breakfast and Aricept at noon. Do any of you give your loved ones both at the same time? He hates hates hates taking medicines. I have had all evaluated, and feel like a criminal when I give them to him. I am 79 and he is 77. I had breast cancer 6 months ago, and had a mastectomy. It was called Paget's Disease and was called a cyst for three years until finally a biopsy was done. Less than 5% of breast cancers are Paget's Disease of the breast. So with stress from being POA for two others, it is rough, and there are no others to fulfil the responsibilities for them except for me. At least one is in assisted living and the other in a nursing home. That helps, but it is very mentally and physically challenging. marymember
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I have been thinking of bringing this up with our doctor as well. My husband has been on Aricept since 2011 - he has vascular dementia. He was on Namenda until the big flap over Namenda vs. Namenda XR. Our doctor said there was a study that showed 2000 mg of Vitamin E daily does the same thing. So we switched Absolutely no difference and certainly much cheaper and easier to get! I think, from what I have read that these drugs are given to vascular dementia patients "just in case".
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Stopped all forms of medications that pretend to "help" a person with dementia. NOTHING will help stop this horrible disease. You might as well live your life without all the side effects and let mother nature take its course.
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My sweet loving husband became a person in h*ll when he was taking Aricept. He went to assisted living for two months, then came home. He constantly talked about committing suicide, had a plan, wanted me to help. His daughter and I took him out of assisted living, told the doctor to take him off Aricept, he's happy, loving, caring, grateful, but has progressive memory loss.
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It is very important to remember that every ALz patient is different. So, I would check with the doctor before taking a patient off Aricept or Namenda.
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Like each of the drugs developed for dementia, aricept is very useful for some individuals, neutral for many, and with too many side effects for others. Most doctors at least try it. If it works, enjoy it! If it stops working discuss with the doctor the advisability of stopping it.

For my mother, too many side effects. Stopped it.

For my husband, excellent results, especially in eliminating hallucinations. He took it for 9 years.

Each case is different. The dementia drugs are worth trying, but not continuing unless they help.
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Aricept did not agree with my mom - she took it for 3 days then absolutely refused to continue. She said it made her sick/nauseous. Her dementia worsened and she began having serious hallucinations. She did not recognized her children, husband; thought there were other people in the house, etc. Her doctor prescribed Namenda for her. She has done better on Namenda, which stopped the hallucinations. She now recognizes her husband, family and friends; and has not had any further hallucinations. However, my dad had a serious heart attack/surgery and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and dementia. He could not take care of her (couldn't before) and she couldn't take care of him. She moved to an assisted living facility where my sister is a director. She was doing very well until dad was discharged from rehab and joined her there. Now they are BOTH agitated. The doctor is reviewing all of their meds to try and determine the best solution for each of them. If she goes off Namenda she will slide backwards. Never an easy answer.
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Sudden withdrawal from any prescription drug is NOT a good idea. The latest PDR (2015) doesn't recommend Aricept for the control of dementia. My suggestion is to arrange a new consultation with a top neurologist and go from there. Be realistic about the stage that your mom is in now.
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While Aricept may help some - for my husband it was a nightmare - took him off after 2 weeks of hell. After discontinuing one morning he said "where did I go?? I don't EVER want to go there again. (and we didn't.)
(Alzhiemer's was a misdiagnosis - he had severe PTSD - and undiagnosed congestive heart failure.)
By Aricepts own in package insert (read the fine print) -
It takes up to 3 months to see difference - then either decline will slow down, be the same or get worse. (as in our case - way worse)
After 6 months - 1 year dementia will return to where it was before taking drug and decline will continue.
If it helps your loved one great - but be prepared for it if it makes matters worse or the living hell it was for us. - until it was discontinued
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I found it interesting that someone posted in their comment about the statins and the affect they had on her husband. My Mom when she first started down the dementia road read in a neurology paper that statin drugs can cause confusion in some people. She asked me if she was on one and when I said yes she said she wanted to stop it so we did. The change in her mental status was remarkable... but it only seemed to last for about two weeks. She was back to her old self for roughly two weeks then began down the dementia road again.
The change in her for those two weeks was so dramatic that I have decided that I won't be taking any statins.
Mom has reached the point where she's unable to be left alone, needs help dressing and other ADLs. It does not seem that she is getting any benefit from the Aricept anymore. She also is very short of breath anymore ( seeing a pulmonologist for this - no answer why) especially in the morning (takes her Aricept at bedtime). The literature on Aricept states that it can increase asthma or lung problems. It also states it can cause vivid dreams and Mom wakes up every morning stating " I just run so much in my dreams that I'm so tired when I get up." So, my thought is if the Aricept is no longer working and may possibly be causing these side effects, it's time to stop it. I don't see at this point in her life the benefit of putting her on any other dementia med.
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Great question/topic/answers. In the same boat here. I can see the benefits of aricept...though also similar concerns with the side-effects in my care-receiver. My care-receiver was a "glass half empty" type prior to dementia. "Perked up" with the use of aricept. Now at times she is the " the glass is empty and smashed to smithereens" type unfortunately. I will investigate if reducing to the result of elimination of this Rx is now something to consider. I look forward to the future posts on this one.
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Aricept made mom worse...she is on nemenda now , but we have gone w/o it for 2 weeks at a time bcuz of prescription refill, I see no change
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My husband's doctor took him off Aricept over a year ago. He is in the severe stage of dementia now, and his doctors said the Aricept wasn't doing anything. He suffered no side effects when stopping. They also took him off Crestor and all other meds that weren't needed.
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When my mother first started experiencing memory loss, the doctor put her on Aricept and then switched to Namenda. Neither drug agreed with her and made her worse so we took her off of both . However, every person is different with how they react to drugs. What might not work for one person, will work for someone else.
I would consult with your mom's Dr. before just stopping the medication.
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It is my understanding that both of these meds are meant to slow the progression in the early stages and have no benefit beyond that. It is good to educate ourselves about all the drugs our loved ones are taking and to review them periodically. I think it is a good idea to get to know our pharmacist, as they have extensive training in this area. We can then bring up concerns with our doctors. You should never stop any drug without advice, as some need to be weaned off of slowly.
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My husband has been on both for about 6 years. He was good in the beginning. I recently took him off Namenda because my insurance stopped paying for it. It costs$350 per month. So I paid for that once and then just plain stopped. I am also thinking about taking him off the Aricept. He requires help with every single activity except walking and feeding himself. I do cut everything up for him and serve him so he doesn't have to face spilling and food accidents. He wipes his hands on the pants instead of the napkin so I am washing pants every day. I doubt that the drugs are doing anything at this point. He has had the disease for 10 years now. The drugs showed no personality changes for him. But when the doc put him on Statins, it was terrible. He kept saying, "I wish I were dead." I took him off the statins against doc's advice. I would rather he have two happy years VS. 10 horrible years. We agreed many years ago to not keeping each other alive for the sake of keeping alive. We believe in quality of life. He has no quality now and I wish he would just fall asleep some evening. But who gets that lucky? I am counting on God to get me through this.
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Actually Aricept can improve the patient. Mum has only recently been put on it and results are quite amazing. She is much more alert, she is can remember where to find the day and the date and she can tell the time again so for me huuuuuuge benefit. The medicine that was a nightmare for me was cholinesterase inhibitors they made her much much worse and we had to stop those after just two tablets. My reason for saying dont act without doctors advice is that your medical records have to be kept current and the doctor will also be able to tell you if you need to be aware of any issues that might emerge as a result of stopping medication
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Sure have with Aricept. No experience with Namenda.
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I have from several people that aricept and namenda causes dramatic personality changes which are not for the good. Has any one experienced this?
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We stopped based on a top dementia doctor's/researcher's recommendation. In our case, it was causing more hostility than anything else and certainly not helping. In fact, we took MIL off of all meds. Her vitals stayed fine and her violent outbursts subsided, at least for a while.
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Pam is absolutely right always check with a doctor first
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Never go cold turkey. Ask the MD for a withdrawal schedule. Aricept does not improve the patient, it only slows the decline.
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