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My husband was first given Aricept, then Namenda added. I don't have a way of telling if either is helping, but keep hearing and reading about the exelon patch. Can anyone speak about the difference in these drugs or their effects?

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If you look at the scientific percentages of people who actually benefit from these drugs, the numbers are abysmal. My grammy-in-law had incontinence issues with Aricept and Excelon patch, and the neurologist tried her on Namenda... it devastated her. She had been very forgetful, but could still dress herself most days, was eating well, had a very difficult time finding words, but was very chatty and happy all the time. Never a curse word, or any less than perfectly pleasant, not argumentative.... On the 5th morning after beginning Namenda, she was very unresponsive and ended up in the hospital. Her blood pressure was through the roof and she wouldn't open her eyes, no response to pain stimulus.... we thought it was the end. For the first time, she became hostile in the hospital after waking up. it took weeks for her to really wake up and get up out of bed, but she was so far declined all of a sudden that it was very hard to accept. She got very mean, wouldn't eat.... like she went from stage 4-5 all the way to endstage in a matter of a few months. The hospitalization was at Christmastime, and she passed away about a month ago. I am all for trying new medications if they might help, but when it comes down to it, routine and support are the only things that can really make a significant difference, because the disease WILL progress regardless.
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My mother takes nothing.The dementia had stages; anger, aggression, denial that her bodily functions and mind were failing.I have found that few times she was seen at the emergency room they gave her a sedative or other to calm her though it wasn't needed.These drugs caused psychotic behavior without fail; screaming,laughing, anger , you name it.
Now I make sure she gets nothing.
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They didn't seem to work for Mom. Hospice said take her off of them, the less drugs, the better off they are...If they don't work, don't bother. Namenda is expensive anyway. Doctor also took her off low dose of high blood pressure pills. She is taking thyroid, and I think a sleep aid as she walks all night long.
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Nothing will help, it's just to drug them and keep them quiet so the staff can handle them until the inevitable end..
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Forget the meds. Either they give side effects or don't work
Get in touch w your loca l senior agencies most cities have them.
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As for sll symptoms of both Altzheimers and dementia the best place gor them during the dsy is senior day care provided by youy citys senior or elder care agencies. .like we have in Gloucester mass housekeeping meals on wheels companionship people he just got on Medicaid has Medicare w blue cross .
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Thought Namenda was still around, or maybe they put XR after the name. Husband still takes it. Namenda and Aricept....almost 6 years on it and I don't know why. I never saw a change. His dementia seemed to move very fast after he was put on it. Coincidece? Could be. I still don't understand the purpose of these two drugs.
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As a geriatrician, I agree w wordy2shoes: consistent routine, exercise, engagement, purpose, social activities.

You should also try to avoid medications that make thinking worse, such as sleeping pills, antihistamines, tranquilizers. And be very careful about hospitalizations; people with dementia often get more confused (this is delirium) and this has been linked to later acceleration of dementia.

Exelon is very similar to Aricept; they are both cholinesterase inhibitors. This type of drug seems to help some people, but most people don't notice any change, and some people seem to suffer side-effects. Same w Namenda, which is a different class of drug, and BTW it's not being discontinued for side-effects, it's that the company is losing its patent and so is trying to force consumers to switch to a branded extended-release version. One approach is to try the drugs for a few months, and if no improvement/benefit, consider stopping.

Good luck. Dementia is difficult and incurable, but with a little trial and error you can find ways to help your dad be the best he can be.
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Aricept made my husband suicidal, depressive, and absolutely miserable! Please consider the side effects of this drug. His daughter and I decided we'd rather have our happy guy with memory loss so told doctor to take him off. That was three years ago, and he is sweet again. No medication. Slow memory loss.
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Nothing is going to change the diagnosis. Namenda has just been removed due to side effects. Why don't you try nothing and see what happens? This disease is terminal and there is nothing you can take in a pill that will change that. Love your loved one with dementia and help them as much as you can. That is all any of us can do with caregiving duties.
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Doctors put my mom on Aricept and Namenda as that was the best treatment at the time (around '03). It seemed like she went downhill even faster, but maybe she was giving up. Who knows. She had Alzheimers. Then my father exhibited signs of dementia. He was on the patch but he often didn't use it. Later he was on Aricept & Namenda. Aricept seemed to make him extra drowsy. However, I thought the Namenda did keep him a little sharper. It does have a limited time of use for effectiveness.

More important is consistency, exercise, engagement at whatever level he is capable of, and helping him feel useful and important in life. Even when Dad couldn't tell potpourri from candy, he would get into "business man" mode when he was around others, especially men. He would talk as though he still were running a business. What he said may not have been accurate or even make complete sense, yet he perked up and engaged in conversation. Keep him moving, know you can't fix anything, try to accept where he is as much as you can, and take extra good care of yourself mentally and physically. You don't realize now just how essential that is for both of you.
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From my experience, none of them work on my 83 year old mother with Alzheimers, I went through this with Aricept, then Namenda, then Namenda XR, then back to Namenda varying dosages, then Exelon Patch (up to 9.5 mg). The Exelon Patch doesn't hurt, let's put it this way. They titrate them on Exelon patch which is too strong for the stomach, so they use the patch to absorb through the skin. We started at the lowest dosage, 4.6 mg and went up to 9.5 mg. There is a higher dosage, but honestly, I don't think it is doing anything. So it may be helping imperceptibly slow, but it at least it doesn't hurt. So I keep doing it in blind hope that it might help a little. But honestly, I can't tell the difference. There was a recent study that showed 99.6% of the Alzheimer's treatments don't work; I can't imagine what the 0.4% was, but I am sure it was a statistical anomaly. I hope you have a different experience. I have found that taking her on drives in the country do more than any of the medicine, and I focus on music and singing while we travel.
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