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A lot of info says to begin on 5 for at least 3 weeks.. A lot of reviews say that 5 mg was tolerated but when it was increased to 10, they had problems. My question is "can I wait another week or two to increase to 10 mg?

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Lauretta, you rock! I was so inspired by reading your post. Your husband is a lucky man.
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@horserider, so is penicillin. Weight matters for some drugs, for others it does not...
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There is no one right answer. None of the drugs work for everyone, but my observation is that when they DO work they can sometimes do wonders. As stated by everyone else, they can slow the decline, but not stop it. The wild card is that no one can turn back time to see what would have happened without the drugs.
I would talk to the Dr. There may be some other factor, like body weight - ever notice the dosage recommendations are the same for a 99lb female as a 300lb male? Hm.
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Hi, Marymember!

I give my husband 1 of each at breakfast and the same when he goes to bed, approx. 12 hours later. He never had any problem. One doctor wanted to increase the dosage, but the neurologist told me to stick to this dosage to keep Paolo from fading away too soon but not to increase it..
I have given him 4-6 tbsp. of coconut oil for the past two or three years and it works enough to slow a little more the decline. . It seems "curcumin really works wanders: I have tried it but it gave him diarrhea and, considering how things are, diarrhea is not exactly what we are looking for. In Europe there is or it's just to be released a kind of "curcuma longa" that affect almost for the 100% only the brain, while the regular one tends to affect the brain only marginally while it is directed mostly to the digestive system. I try to keep as much as possible on the look of anything new as I would hate one day to have a doctor tell me: "We found a way to stop or maybe even reverse the decline but unfortunately for your husband it's too late". I would not be able to live with that if I had not done everything in my power to keep him from sliding off and became a vegetable. If I find something, anything that can help, be sure that I'll let everybody know.
Have a big hug and my best wishes for you and your loved one
Lauretta
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When you give both Aricept and Namenda, do you spread the dosage out? Example...Aricept in the morning and Namenda at night...or both pills given together? Marymember
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It's good to know I'm not in this fight alone. My mother who was just diagnosed in March with dementia/alzheimer, and she is to taking the Aricept along with a bipolar pill at night, both pills are 10ml each. My mom still trys to handle her money which she can not, she will not except someone else being POA over her. She cusses me out almost daily. Then my brother moved in 2 years ago to help because I went to school last year but it seems she is worst with him around. He talked her into buying a car and now I have to figure out how she will pay for it. At the time the car was bought in Jan. 2015, she was diagnosed in March 2015. I fill this is my job to care for her, it is part of God's plan for my life and hers. I'm so tired of being abused by my mother, however this is her regular personality she has always been a very difficult person to be around. I love the lady who said give a hug, if she can do it I can. Thanks for the words of incouragement. God bless all of us. Sharon
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I think that if he's doing fine on 5, think for yourself. Do your own research and tell the doctor exactly what you want to do and why. I've fired many a doctor because they wouldn't listen or cooperate.
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I just want to pass on something I found out kind of by accident when my mom was prescribed Aricept. GoodRx offers wonderful coupons at various stores that make this drug quite inexpensive. If you just search "Aricept Coupons" you should be able to locate their site easily. I was amazed!
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My mom was nutzo on 10mg so i took her off it all together. She was better off any memory meds. My friends mom had blackouts on 10mg so beware. My advice is stop statins! Lol they or antidepressants cause memory loss i am sure. Good luck
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I want to add to the positive reports about these drugs. First of all, as a retired RN, I do urge all to get with the doctor about when and how to change dosages, and to report any side effects. That said, first, my Dad. My Dad was an electrical engineer, mathematician, computer programmer, and when he noticed, in his late 70s that his memory was failing, he high tailed it to a neurologist on his own and went through evaluation and testing and started being followed. He is now 93yrs old and approaching late stage dementia, in a memory care facility. I have to say, that Dad was put on Aricept and other drugs added and dosages changed over time, as a way to slow down dementia and he was on these drugs for a full six years before I even knew all this history! He was doing amazingly well on his own. Only when we moved out of town, and parents started coming to visit and staying overnight with us, did I notice the meds he was taking and started asking questions. He was very straight about what was happening. Eventually, by 2012, he started forgetting to pay bills and that is when I had to get involved and we invoked the POA for parents. He was on meds until he was admitted to Memory Care. Then they stopped the meds, with the doctors saying that due to agitation and a different stage of disease, they had to add more psychotropic drugs, and felt those were more important than continuing with the dementia drugs. His neurologist had said at one point that if the drugs would stop, Dad would decline almost immediately. We did not find that to be true. He's been in placement now, without those drugs for 2.5 years and he's about the same, as far as his mental state, as when he was admitted. He still recognizes Mom all the time, but she goes daily to see him. It takes him more time to recognize the rest of us,and put a name with a face....because by himself, he sees us as much younger! But he looks at us and can clearly say, " Well....I know you belong to me!" And then we just work at helping him pull it out of his brain the name with the face. By the time we visit two or three days in a row, he knows again who we all are.

MOM, on the other hand, is 89....early Alzheimer's diagnosed two years ago and adamantly refused Aricept after trying it, but it caused he diarrhea. She was NOT willing to ride out the diarrhea until the body was used to the drug, and her intelligence level is much lower than Dad's so there was no ability to educate her. She lives alone and so cannot force her to take drugs she doesn't want to take, though we are approaching the issue of not being competent to live alone at all, and she now has caregivers 6 hours/day. I see her decline being much faster, and believe it's cause she refused the drug, refuses to believe she even has Alzheimer's and denies all symptoms. She is much more difficult to deal with due to her personality. But my summary is that I don't know, as an RN what exactly the drugs do in the brain, but they do slow down progression, and I've read others who say, that their family member has even cleared and seemed better once the drugs had been on board for awhile.
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I am going to revise my earlier statement and add, if whatever your loved one has been prescribed works, and if only for the placebo effect, then if there are few side effects take it. The inevitable is still the same, but if it gives you time with your loved one, cheers!
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My husband has been on Aricept and Namenda for over a year now and it really has helped him. I am thankful for the VA neurologist. Hugs
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Thank you for this question and the answers given, this couldn't be more timely for me for my mom. I realize there isn't a cure, but I think if any improvement can be held that's still good for quality of life. I need to fill out my profile but my mom is 86 and I suspect has dementia and my dad is 84 with his own issues. I am 51 and just totally unprepared. I'm he only girl and my brother only does the least that can be done. If it weren't for my husband I'd be nuts by now. Both parents are still fairly good considering what I've read on this site with others. She sees her PCP on Thursday and I'm going to ask for a neurologist referral which she said she'd offer to us on a prior visit. My mom's former doc did nothing and just didn't want to deal with it so I found a new one. I've been on the fence about these meds and I know everyone is different, but to hear from those who have experienced some good results is hopeful news.

Thanks so much!
Jacky
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Laura,
You are a breath of fresh air, as are the others who praise Aricept. I am fully aware it doesn't cure or stop Alzheimer's,but may slow the progress. My husband, recently diagnosed, has been on it only 2 weeks and will soon up it to 10 my, and I do thing he seems more "with it a little" , not especially better but just some subtle changes that only occurred after taking the med. this hopefully will give us extra time together and a chance to absorb all that has happened. This website is a godsend and I will try to remember your words as we go forward. Thank you. Hugs to you too.
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My husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer 10 years ago and prescribed Aricept 5 mgs for a short period, increased to 5 mgs twice a day for few years and to 10 mgs twice a day since. Ebixa was added when it came out and both of them have done a marvelous job. He is 90, fell once some time ago and I had the antidepressant he had been lately prescribed dropped. I , 88, am the only caretaker of my husband and still can cope quite well. The doctors and social workers keep an eye on our situation but agree with me that I don't need help from anybody, not even my daughter, who socially visits us for an hour almost every week, or from my grandchildren, who show up only for birthdays.
After 10 years my husband dresses himself, eats by himself, takes a shower with little help, comes shopping with me and yes, he has some small accidents once in a while at night and rarely not so light accidents during the day but he cops with them by himself. He was an engineer and now he cannot understand that 2+2 makes 4, he does remember nothing of our 65 years of life together nor of our even longer friendship and he does not remember the name of his daughters, brothers and other relatives and confesses that he would not be able to recognize any of them if he met them on the street. He is declining and probably he is already near the last stretch of his ordeal, but, believe me, Aricept and Ebixa have been for us a godsend, certainly not a "cover your ass" the way somebody who evidently does not know much about medicine call them just to give a smart answer.
Take care of your husband and if I can do it at my age you can certainly do it: it needs a lot of stubbornness, patience and love on your side, but be sure, you can do it.
Have a big hug
Lauretta
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I think it is worth taking both aricept and Namenda xr. My husband balks every time I give him medicines, and he does require many..not just for memory but for high blood pressure, cholesterol, enlarged prostate, urinary tract problems..
There are others, too. I have to make sure he gets them, or they would never never never be taken. even when he didn't have Alzheimers he had this problem..so I have to remember both of us. and sometimes I am so frustrated I skip taking mine. I have recently ordered a pill machine that sets the time to take the pills and sends out an alarm. I ordered two..one for me and one for my husband. I will have my children help me set them up. Thank goodness they live nearby. Marymember
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Most all doctors either general or neurologist will prescribe a med like Aricept, Excelon or Namenda for dementia. THERE IS NO DRUG ON THE MARKET THAT WILL REVERSE THIS DISEASE. Aricept has a lot of side effects and will do nothing to stop this disease. Doctors are merely in CYA mode. That's nurse's terminology for "cover your ass".
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My mom went from 5 to 10 to 23 with no side effects at all. Aricept is powerful medicine and it helps immensely. Do not reject this medicine because you're afraid of "possible" side effects. Everyone is different. I say try it. If you get side effects that are intolerable, stop. But you have to do a risk/benefit analysis. Aricept slows the decline of Alzheimer's and has recently had its indication changed to being recommended for all stages including late stage.

That being said, if a doctor want you to take it other than the way it's indicated, I'd make him justify that. However from my personal opinion and 9 years experience with Alzheimer's drugs, a week or 2 extra on 5 won't hurt.

Cetude, I have to respectfully disagree with your statement that Aricept just masks symptoms. What it actually does in the brain is (somehow) eliminate a lot of the protein tangles that cause decline and loss of ability. It's really a great drug, and years into her condition, my mom is doing a lot better than others.

Getting back to the original question, my mother was given a starter pack that took her through the dosages as indicated. That's probably best in the beginning, come to think of it. Ask your doctor.
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We went through side effect issues going from 5 to 10. Doctor had ADW take 7.5 {1 and 1/2pill} for weeks before going to 10. I recall the 23 mg is not a good alternative.
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Aricept only masks symptoms--remember with psychoactive drugs there are increased risk for falling.
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From the Aricept website:

"DOSING INFORMATION

Before starting on ARICEPT 23 mg/day, patients should be on ARICEPT 10 mg/day for at least 3 months. The starting dose of ARICEPT is 5 mg/day and can be increased to 10 mg/day after 4–6 weeks. Please take ARICEPT as prescribed by the doctor."

I'd ask the doctor about extending the time on 5 mg. Can't hurt to ask!
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