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Thanks all. This is what I was hoping for. Real life experiences. My wife and I are off and running with this so we'll see what happens.

Any comments on how soon I should/could expect to see early results in how she is reacting? Her dosage is to double after 10 days at 5 MG.
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I believe the current thinking among doctors is that the drug can be useful to improve function "today" (have a better day with less memory mistakes), and that it works best for people whose memory mistakes are noticeable but not severe. Being on It does not change the rate that the person will go downhill in the future. That will be up to the underlying pathological process, whatever it is. Aricept works well for some, does no harm that is known, and is certainly worth the try. It does mean that your doctor can see enough age related memory loss to try it. It does not mean that he or she knows what the exact cause is at this point, nor what the future holds.
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My mom was on aricept for a long time. She did seem somewhat better when she initially started taking it and definitely didn't seem like she was getting worse. My mom had Lewy body and parkinsons so we have more mobility issues and eventually my mom stopped talking. Basically only answered yes or no. No sentences. I think the drug was helpful for my mom but she started taking very early in her dementia/Alzheimer's diagnosis. I think the earlier you take it the more beneficial it is, but I could be wrong. 5mg is what my mom was given. Good luck
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I think many that are just beginning in the care of a loved one with dementia hope that there is a cure that will stop the wretched disease. There are some meds that may improve symptoms, but none that will stop the behaviors or the progression of the disease. Over the past years there have been many drugs tested for effectiveness in fighting dementia. One that is effective in controlling or slowing has not been found. As JG says the damage in the brain makes standard prescribing of a specific drug just a best guess by docs. If a drug does not have the anticipated result they will move on to try another.
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Aricept is a brand name for donepezil hydrochloride. It has FDA approval for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Many doctors prescribe it for any memory issues that may turn out to be dementia, without an actual dementia diagnosis, or for other kinds of dementia than Alzheimer's. The side effect rate is fairly low and low-risk, so this practice seems to be a "let's try it and see if it works" approach.

Five mg is a "starter" dose and if there are no side effects it would probably be increased.

My mother's geriatrician prescribed it when Mom had "mild cognitive impairment" but (like most drugs, darn it) it nauseated Mom and we discontinued it. Mom did go on to develop Dementia, type unspecified.

My husband did not have any "pre-dementia" period, he was into Lewy Body Dementia bang! with very little warning. His neurologist prescribed Aricept. It was very effective for him, and remained so until he died, nearly 10 years later. (It can last longer in LBD than in ALZ, because there is less brain cell death in LBD.)

I agree with the others that the best person to explain how to interpret this is the doctor who prescribed it. But even then you will only know if it works by observing your wife as she takes it, and you will only know if she has a slight memory problem or mild cognitive impairment or dementia by seeing what the future holds.

Initially this drug was thought to "slow down the progression" of dementia. I don't believe that is the current view. None of the 5 drugs the FDA has approved for treating dementia has been shown to slow down the progression of the disease. In some lucky people they do lessen the symptoms and improve quality of life. In others they are less effective.

Is that what you wanted to know?
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Watch for side effects. Mom had GI problems that may have subsided, but it was so unpleasant we took her off.
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According to the Aricept website, 5 mg is the starting dosage. It looks like 23 mg is the recommended therapeutic dose. Aricept is for Mild, Moderate and Severe Alzheimers, according to the same website.
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I'm sorry. How should you interpret the fact that your wife's doctor prescribed a dementia drug? If I were in your shoes and not inclined or able to ask the doctor, I would think that the doctor was thinking that she had dementia and might be helped by the drug. If your question is about dosage, I have no idea, not being a doctor or any kind of medical professional.

This should bump your question to the top and I hope someone will have better answers.
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Thanks for your "help"! Actually the lack thereof.

You never did answer my direct question. I was seeking information ... not a lecture nor medical advice to me.
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I'm confused, because your profile says that you are caring for someone with Alzheimers or dementia. What kind of doctor? Have you ever asked outright, does she have dementia? Has she had a neuro cognitive workup ( i.e. several hours of verbal and paper and pencil testing that will pinpoint her deficits?

Sometimes, doctors assume patients either don't want to know, or assume that patients DO know. You may have to ask a very explicit question to get an answer. While you're at it, tell the doctor you'd like the straight story from here on in.
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So far just for memory loss .... no dementia-related comments
yet
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What did the prescribing physician say?
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