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Old 11-25-2014, 08:59 PM
 
80 posts, read 127,614 times
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Hi, all.

I am hoping that some of you might be able to give me feedback on the prescription drug Donepezil (Aricept). Have you or has someone you know taken this drug? Would you please share your experience, good and/or bad? Or, do you have some expert knowledge about this drug? Please share.

Someone dear to me who is 75 years old has been showing signs of some cognitive decline, memory loss (mild dementia?)--Not 'Alzheimer's Disease'. I try to get her and others who care for her on board with trying to attack this more 'naturally', but it is not happening. (Change & improve diet, increase physical activity, increase stimulating activity, supplements..)
Her primary doc referred her to a neurologist, who has prescribed her Donepezil (Aricept) 5 mg (1 per day). After starting this med, she had several days of jaw pain, which has gone away. Now, it's been a few days that her legs have been very itchy. She said she's put band aids on her legs because of all the scratching. I guess if side effects like these are short term and go away, OK(?).. But is the drug helping? And, is it making her cognitive function worse? Is it harming her? I'm not sure, but I think her memory is seeming worse of late.

Your responses will be greatly appreciated!

Bbear468
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Old 11-26-2014, 04:13 AM
 
Location: God's Country
5,182 posts, read 4,661,257 times
Reputation: 8689
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbear468 View Post
Hi, all.

I am hoping that some of you might be able to give me feedback on the prescription drug Donepezil (Aricept). Have you or has someone you know taken this drug? Would you please share your experience, good and/or bad? Or, do you have some expert knowledge about this drug? Please share.

Someone dear to me who is 75 years old has been showing signs of some cognitive decline, memory loss (mild dementia?)--Not 'Alzheimer's Disease'. I try to get her and others who care for her on board with trying to attack this more 'naturally', but it is not happening. (Change & improve diet, increase physical activity, increase stimulating activity, supplements..)
Her primary doc referred her to a neurologist, who has prescribed her Donepezil (Aricept) 5 mg (1 per day). After starting this med, she had several days of jaw pain, which has gone away. Now, it's been a few days that her legs have been very itchy. She said she's put band aids on her legs because of all the scratching. I guess if side effects like these are short term and go away, OK(?).. But is the drug helping? And, is it making her cognitive function worse? Is it harming her? I'm not sure, but I think her memory is seeming worse of late.

Your responses will be greatly appreciated!

Bbear468
Wife has a non-Alzheimer's dementia 1st diagnosed Nov. 2011. The 1st noticeable sign was expressive aphasia (inability to speak understandably). For this particular dementia, memory is the last mental function to deteriorate. It's hard to say if Donepezil (10 mg. 1X a day) has preserved cognition because there's no way to compare her status with herself in an untreated state. I will say this: her cognition was pretty constant over a 2-year period until a couple of months ago. She would tell you when she need to be walked to the bathroom, had an excellent distant memory, and enjoyed watching old Westerns as well as game shows. In September, her legs went completely dead. She mostly sleeps, no TV, no interests in anything. She doesn't alert anyone regarding toilet needs, just soils herself. A catheter has been inserted for urinary incontinence.

I'm sorry but cannot say for certain whether her current state was delayed due to the donepezil. The neurologist said that it is an Alzheimer's drug but decided to try it on my wife anyway.
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Old 11-26-2014, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,856 posts, read 63,067,100 times
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The usual effect is to slow any further decay for some time. However, it doesn't prolong life, just prolongs further decay. Once decay starts, it is rather sudden.
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Old 11-26-2014, 09:07 PM
 
80 posts, read 127,614 times
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I just realized that in my original post, I mistakenly titled it "Donepezil (Namenda)..." I meant "Donepezil (Aricept)..." Sorry, I don't know how to edit the OP (if possible).

Thank you, Calvert Hall '62 and SouthernBelleInUtah for your responses.
I have read some pretty scary things about this drug (askapatient.com, etc). And I am concerned about my loved one taking it. I tend to be wary of pharmaceutical drugs...

I hope others will join the conversation and share. Thanks.

Bbear468
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Old 11-26-2014, 10:51 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
11,496 posts, read 25,183,737 times
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My dad took it for a while. I'm not really sure if it helped him. It's hard to say if it slowed things down or not.
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Old 11-28-2014, 10:33 PM
 
Location: Hawaii
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The Aricepts and generics like it increase acetylcholine (ACh) in the brain. The whole body uses ACh and I would look at as more of an upper except in the cardiac area where it can slow heart rate. It's a neurotransmitter.

The best thing you can do for the person is get a referral to a neuropsychologist (different from a neurologist). The neurologist just gave her a prescription; you people need to have her evaluated for a true picture. The neuropsychologists are the people who can give tests and evaluate correctly what's going on. Some dementias aren't true dementias and just a result of a physical disease process and reversible if caught early enough. It's important to be checked out by the right specialist to know what real treatment your friend needs. The neurologist should have given you a referral to a neuropsychologist (leastwise that's what we do where I am).

In the interim I think you're doing the right thing...don't discount brain exercises like j i g saw puzzles or online games (there's a great site from AARP). Also, diet like fresh fruits and vegetables, fluid intake is supper important along with a well rested night of sleep. It's been discovered that at night our extracellular pathways actually enlarge during a certain stage of sleep so that toxins and all that rubbish if flushed from the brain; a self cleaning mechanism is you will.

I know what you're going through, and I wish you well...
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Old 08-12-2015, 03:00 PM
 
676 posts, read 874,201 times
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Default Dementia

Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthernBelleInUtah View Post
The usual effect is to slow any further decay for some time. However, it doesn't prolong life, just prolongs further decay. Once decay starts, it is rather sudden.


How sudden is sudden ? Weeks, months, a little a little there. he has started speaking in a very low voice and when I say huh he says I am going deaf but I have no trouble hearing anyone else.
I'm not sure right now what kind of Dementia pt he will be laid back or angry all the time. He has NOTHING good I mean NOTHING good at all to say about the news on tv but if he sees an abused animal on there he starts to cry. He has always been soft hearted like that. I am trying to pick my fights. Everything is so blown out of proportion. My little dog had a red lick spot on her chest and he said come here!
Sophie has an awful place on her chest and it is bleeding. well, it wasn't. He says I hit curbs but I don't.
Strange is all I can say. Can someone help?
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Old 08-14-2015, 02:16 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
11,496 posts, read 25,183,737 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarajane2013 View Post
I'm not sure right now what kind of Dementia pt he will be laid back or angry all the time. He has NOTHING good I mean NOTHING good at all to say about the news on tv but if he sees an abused animal on there he starts to cry. He has always been soft hearted like that. I am trying to pick my fights. Everything is so blown out of proportion. My little dog had a red lick spot on her chest and he said come here!
Sophie has an awful place on her chest and it is bleeding. well, it wasn't. He says I hit curbs but I don't.
Strange is all I can say. Can someone help?

My dad cries every time he sees an animal, or any time that my mom gets mad at him, or any time that anyone hugs him or gives him food that he especially likes.

Inappropriate emotions are a symptom that some dementia patients get. There's a new treatment that my mom has been going on about but she hasn't gotten my dad's geriatrician to prescribe it yet.

Sometimes it's not worth trying to reason with the dementia patient or argue with them. If it's something they think is wrong, say that you'll fix it. If the news upsets them, don't turn on the news. My mom wastes a lot of her time and energy arguing with my dad, and even more trying to explain things to him or teach him things he's forgotten. I've tried to tell her that he's not going to get better or relearn things, so we might as well make his life as pleasant and uncomplicated as we can, but she's sure he's going to get his memory back and live another 30 years.


There's a caregiver's forum on City Data that may be useful for you.
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Old 08-14-2015, 10:22 PM
 
1,950 posts, read 3,322,797 times
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Good links:

http://m.alz.org/medications-for-memory-loss.asp
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-c...s/bgp-20055922
http://emedicine.medscape.com/articl...93-overview#a1

Last edited by west seattle gal; 08-14-2015 at 10:36 PM..
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Old 08-15-2015, 12:00 AM
 
1,425 posts, read 1,256,557 times
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My MIL with Alzheimer's is using it. It slowed down her decline very noticeably. Before this drug, she was going down fast, now she is rather stable with no apparent changes, that surprises us a lot because the progression of the disease should be visible anyway. But she is stable.
The drug has side effects, yes. Almost any serious drug has them. As far as I know, things loke dementia are not reversible. So the options are simple - bear the side effects and watch a slow decline, or have no side effects and let your dear one slide down fast. We use patches, it helps to avoid stomach problems.
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