My grandmother, age 90, Stage 5 Alzheimers, has been taking Aricept for 3 yrs. and Namenda for 2. She had a stomach virus last week and was unable to take her meds for several days. I started giving her the Aricept again a few days ago, but not the Namenda because she was still queasy and didn't feel that she could swallow two pills.
The thing is, she has been so sweet and docile since not taking the Namenda, not constantly angry, irritable and agitated as she has been for a long time now. I have not even had to give her an evening tranquilizer all week. My question is has anyone else had this kind of experience with Namenda? Could it have been causing the bad behavior. She's still forgetful and confused, but not agitated.
I have never heard of agitation being caused by Nemenda, but more of it as an integral part of this disease itself. I wonder if the calmer behavior is caused by weakness after several days of being ill? My Mom was not able to tolerate either of those drugs. I wish you luck with your grandmother. Are you her primary caregiver?
Thought I have never heard anybody say that Namenda caused the aggitation they experienced with their loved one, I have been researching to see if medication could induce the symptoms in my Mom. This is what I found as psychiatric side effects of Namenda...
If your Mom goes back on the Namenda and the aggitation comes back it would be worth taking her off again to see if the symptoms go away.... or just wait to put her back on the Namenda to see if the aggitation returns when she is feeling better. It is definitely worth a try.
That information is very distressing to me, although Mom had to go off it amost immediately because of digestive problems. All these side effect are actually symptoms of Dementia .. delusions, sleep problems, etc. Good grief, I wonder now if the drug isn't worse than the disease. This reminds me of cold medicines which have runny nose and sore throat as side effects ... it seems so weird!
I was a bit amazed at the Psychiatric side effects as well Martha. I know Mom had some depression prior to her diagnosis which was the time she started the Namenda and Aricept. But it has been since that time that she began having what we call "melt downs". They are truly psychotic episodes. I tend to blame it on "the disease" but I do wonder if some of the blane could be "the medication".
Thanks for your responses. I knew that the behavior she was exhibiting was also one of the disease symptoms, and she was already showing some of that before she started the Namenda, which is why I never started to make a connection until she stopped taking it. The calm behavior continues today, thank goodness. I am going to continue to withold the Namenda for the next few days and see how it goes. If the symptoms come back without it, I'll know it wasn't the pills, and I'll start her back on it. I'm her primary caregiver, but I have a lady who stays with her while I'm at work. I'm going to see how she behaves with her, because lately she has been having a "meltdown" with this lady every evening before I get home. It's such a surprise to have something positive happen in this journey for a change. Whether it lasts a while or not, these past few days have been a welcome break!
Joel, please keep us informed. I would love to know what happens in your situation. I can soooooo relate to the "melt downs". That is what we call Mom's episodes as well. I suggested the idea of taking Mom off the Namenda to my sisters just to see what happens but have no responses. They do tend to turn tail and run when the hard questions are ask. I brought up taking Mom and Dad off Statins and ruffled two thirds of the feathers. Later the doctor suggested the same and it happened. Perhaps I will talk to their doctor when I am there the 13th. I would love to know your experience...
My Moms neuro started her on namenda when she was in the hospital a few years ago. I saw an immediate change in her behavior. She was terrible. Mean, agressive, just a mess. I found out that she was on a new med. and I stopped it right away. Now, when I take her to the hospital I give orders that she is not to start "any" new meds without my permission. It took about 24 hrs. for her to get back to her old sweet self. LOL
I know every patient is different. For my Mom its a NO for aricept or namenda.
I got back from my sister's just what I expected. Sister 2 understood my questioning the Nameda related to Mom's behavior. Sister 3, the nurse, has not responded. Sister 4 said ..."I'll discuss it. NO!!" She will not even consider it.
She went on to say that taking her off Namenda was an ethical question? If taking her off can possibly improve her quality of life what is unethical about that? Her comment to the side effects is that all drugs have side effects. Well DUH.... and you have to know how they effect you.
She said Dad would be better off the longer we can maintain mom's abilities. My take on that is that Dad will be better off if mom no longer has melt downs. Dad wants Mom happy and he gets upset when she is not.
She swears Mom's behavior has not changed since she started the Namenda and I know different. Mom was depressed before (started with her realization she had ALZ) but she didn't rant, rage, and hit people. She didn't cry hysterically and wish she was dead. That all manifested itself after her diagnosis which was when she started the Namenda.
This is what blew me away..... " Yes, Mama will have meltdowns, but the issue is not that she has them but how to deal with them so that the two of them can cohabitate together as long as possible.
So I will continue to say that we need to deal with the daily facts in Room 376 and use drugs to help us AND prolong their memory as long as we can. "
A close friend of mine was an only child and had to manage her Mom's Alzheimer's Disease all by herself. She envied people who had siblings to share the burden. However, after becoming acquainted with many who are disappointed and hurt and even cheated by siblings, she was glad she was an only child.
Hang in there and keep doing the best you can. Actually it should be her DOCTOR who makes a final decision on whether she stays on Namenda or not, after being informed of the change in behavior that began with it ... I hope he/she is competent to look into her case again and make this call. None of the daughters can make it.
I agree with you Martha.... on all points. Thank you
The doctor Mom has now has only been caring for her since she moved to AL. Mom was on Namenda a year before she moved so the doctor has no yard stick of comparison of how she was before. Actually, Mom changed doctor's about the same time she was diagnosed so he didn't have a yard stick of comparison either. Mom of course does not have a cognitive awareness of why the changes. So it is up to us girls to be observant and see the changes. I have been looking for and explination of Mom's melt downs since shortly after her diagnosis. They are so out of character for her. It was only when I tied the Namenda discussion here to Mom's behavior that it made me look further......
Sister 4 is the contact person for the doctor so I am kinda stuck with this one. I understand it is not my decision to make but I do think, in light of the time line of Mom's "melt downs" that it should at least be discussed with the doctor and not totally dismissed. What I got back was dismissal.
Oh well... I suggested stopping the statin and I got the same responses from my sisters. Two months later the doctor suggested the same thing and the very sisters that were against it when I suggested it agreed with the doctor. ::shrug::
I'm going back to my preparation to head up to the cabin with my daughter and her boyfriend tomorrow. Nope, it's not a vacation. I got the responsibility for keeping up the cabin and it is in despirate need of two days of weedeating and yard work....
Just an update...... I had a wonderful 2 days (thanks for wishing them for me Martha... it worked . Spent all day Thursday driving (2 hours) and weed eating (5 hours). I was exhausted but it was nice to be amoung the tall hemlocks on that quiet hill overlooking the waterfall. Friday my daughter refused to let me come home early. She kidnapped me and we went to lunch and shopping. It was needed. Bless that child.
While I was enjoying lunch with my daughter my Mom was having yet another major melt down. My niece had taken her new 3 week old great grand daughter to see Mom and Dad. They decided to go to sister 3's house instead of the facility. Mom had evidently spent much time priming Dad to tell the three sister's that were there that they were going home. Dad forgot. While there Mom once again tried to get him to demand that they go home and he didn't do it. So Mom melted into hysterical tears. Then Mom once again accused Sister 3 of taking her things. This time it was a table that she had given Sister 3 over 25 years ago. Eventually Sister 4 disolved in tears as well, unable to cope with what was going on. Everybody I have talked to said the day was horrible.
Just more proof as to what I have said. Mom and Dad do NOT need to go out of the facility to this kind of function and they need to find out what is causing the melt downs (whether it is Namenda or not) and do something to help Mom. This has nothing to do with anybody else..... Mom needs to feel better about herself and her situation if at all possible and we don't need to add to her confusion by taking her out.
I talked to Mom today and she told me how wonderful her new great grand daughter is and what a nice visit it was. ::sigh::: I am glad I was not there.
I am going Wednesday to see Mom and Dad and will see what life brings the days I am there. Hopefully I can talk to the doctor while I am there as well.
This is the weird thing about Alzheimer ''meltdowns" -- they continue to hurt and upset all the people present --- for many many days --- except the actual cause, the dementia person. They forget it almost immediately!
If only everyone understood that and didn't take the crying, shouting, pouting, yelling, screaming, etc seriously. Just deftly change the suject! Hand her a dish of ice cream. Hand her the phone. Take her by the hand and show her a flower in the yard. Or, everyone leave the room. Alone, the tantrum will be much shorter ....
Maybe this was necessary to teach your sisters NOT to take Mom and dad to their houses....
Glad you had a couple of days off and missed a fiasco!