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An elderly addicted to prescription meds because they 'really' need them.
Thank you doctor. So now as we watch this person fall apart, who is responsible?

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The symptoms this lady has may not be caused by the medication at all. It certainly sounds like she needs to be evaluated. It could be infection, dementia, stroke, etc. Is there someone who can get her help. She may likely not realize the state she is in. I hope someone gets her to a doctor. It could be something that could be easily treated.
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annettesrose, how do you know it is the meds that have caused this decline in your friend? What makes you "know" that when you've never spoken to her doctors? Many, many of us here are caring for people who have the kinds of problems you describe and no meds were involved in the cause. So, how do you know?

I'm also curious why you are so concerned about "who is responsible". If you had a definite answer, what would you do with it?
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We would need a lot more specific about the medications -- which ones and dosages -- and why they are being taken. Doctors have been known to give patients too many medications. This can particularly be the case if the person uses more than one doctor. One thing you can do is talk to her pharmacist if you are her healthcare proxy. If you are not the proxy, perhaps the person who is can do this. If you do think it is the medication and not a disease, then you could see about hiring another doctor for the woman who could do a methodical change of her medication schedule.

We depend on doctors to know everything when it comes to medications. However, after two bad incidents of bad doctors giving me bad medicines (haldol for panic disorder and a strong iron supplement when I wasn't anemic), I learned that we have to be as knowledgeable as our doctors when it comes to the medications we are taking. It is better to think of the doctor as one of your team players, rather than the coach.
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annettesrose, a person can get dementia even without using any prescribed or over-the-counter medicines. We all age at different rates, some of which depends on our DNA.

My parents are in their mid-90's and have been taking a lot of medicines over the recent years, neither have dementia.... just plain old forgetfulness due to age decline.

As for your friend, it could be something as simple as a urinary tract infection.
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annetterose, what you describe may not be a medicine-induced change. It sounds too complex. What I think may be most useful is having a neurological exam instead of assuming it is the medications. Some medication, as well as alcohol, can cause complex changes if taken in a large enough quantity for a long enough time. But at her age I would check if there could be another problem.
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With regard to the driving, in most states you can anonymously report an impaired driver to dmv.

Why is contacting her doctor out of the question? The doctor can't GIVE you any information, but nothing is prevevring you from aending the doctor a note. You can also contact APS if you think this person cannot care for herself any longer.
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You seem to be saying she has an addictions problem with prescribed med, I assume either one of the benzodiazapines or an oipiod pain medication.

We had a family member who developed problems with her migraine medication, she was always running out early and begging the pharmacy or other relatives for a few more to tide her over, sadly I think that is what eventually caused her to not be able to stay in her own home any more.

Some people can be very clever in finding ways to feed their addictions, often going to multiple doctors, begging from relatives with similar prescriptions etc. If the primary doctor is unaware he/she can't really be blamed, if they know yet do nothing to address the problem then the blame falls squarely on them IMO.
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What leads you to the conclusion that this lady's sadly declining state is attributable to the prescribed medications? Without knowing what they are, or what you mean by implying that she doesn't, in fact, really need to take them, it's quite hard to follow your reasoning.
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Is this person going through withdrawal?
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This lady is in her early 70's and lives independently. But over the years the prescribed meds have been causing changes such as multiple personalities, loss of socializing interests, not keeping up on simple tasks at home, confusion, anxiety, sleeplessness and over sleeping, and most importantly poor judgment and perception while operating a motor vehicle has started.
A very intelligent woman who used to be very social and active in her community has become this since meds started and the decline continues.
When such a person is in control of their life and manages enough to get by, and makes changes when necessary....this is the new normal.
This is complicated when the person keeps others at bay and speaking to the doctor is not an option. So my question refers to once this gets worse or something tragic happens, who will be responsible?
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I'm with JG, if you think medication side effects are causing delirium or dementia symptoms you need to speak to the doctors about which scripts can be changed or discontinued.
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What do you mean by "Accountable"? At whom should you direct your anger? Whom can you sue for damages?

Under Dementia-like conditions that may be reversed, Mayo Clinic lists this:
"Reactions to medications. Dementia-like symptoms may occur as a reaction to a single medication or because of an interaction of several medications."

I think it would be a more productive use of your energy to look into how/whether your loved ones' dementia-like symptoms can be reversed. Deciding whom to blame won't really be as satisfying as you expect.

But I sure to understand the anger and frustration. "Who is accountable for dementia caused by little misfolded protein molecules lodged in the brain?!" I was very angry that my sweet, smart, funny, and kind husband developed dementia, and there was nobody to blame. So I settled for hating the dementia and getting on with caring for the dear man as best I could.

Vent away! Express your anger here! You may never be able to identify someone as "accountable." Life is not fair.
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I'm not sure what you are referring to with medication. I wonder what medical problem the senior is being treated for, their prognosis and quality of life. Keeping a person comfortable and pain free for their remaining days is sometimes a good goal. Pain management should be monitored by the doctor. But, I would be looking more to keeping my loved one comfortable than focusing on the length of time they are on a medication. Granted, I don't know much about your situation. Just my thoughts.
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The person who got themselves addicted and the doctor who enabled him.
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