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Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia Message Board
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Old 09-28-2008, 09:07 AM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 80
flowersx2 HB User
Need drug info help

We just found out that my MIL is taking aricept (10 mg) and Effexor XR (150 mg). She is only 68 and has really struggled since my FIL retired. She had always been a sahm and after he retired he bought a small retail store that they both work plus some rental properties that they manage. This is what he wants and she would rather spend time with the grandchildren, exercise classes etc. They don't need the money but FIL does not have any hobbies except working.

My point is, I think she has struggled some with depression and stress since he retired and now they are together all of the time. She had a non-malignant tumor behind her ear and when she had it removed she can no longer hear with that ear. Yes, she gets a little forgetful and I think she only hears parts of conversations which does not help. Her forgetfulness appears to be more age related than AD. A situation occurred last week (FIL's 70th b-day) and some other things happened where they got in a pretty big argument. She got really upset and he took her to the ER and she ended up getting admitted to mental hospital. Now the state has control over her. Neither have discussed anything with the kids and we are all baffled at what has happened this last week. Can the mixture of these medications affect her as well? I really don't think she has AD but she has been so worried about her memory. Her mother had AD at 90 years old but before that she was sharp as a whip. I'm just at a loss here and trying to sort through everything. I read about the side effects of the meds but would appreciate others experience. TIA

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Old 09-28-2008, 02:03 PM   #2
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Gabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB User
Re: Need drug info help

Effexor XR and an anti depressant/anti anxiety medication and Aricept is to slow the progression of Alzheimer. The Effexor is to treat the deperession that you are seeing. Yes, depression can cause symptoms similar to dementia because they tend to disconnect from the world around them. Her hearing loss can also be a problem. She can not respond properly to what she doesn't hear. I am assuming her other ear is ok and her hearing in that ear has been tested and is ok? Actually your MIL sounds like my Mom.... two years ago.

Much of what we consider "age related" forgetfullness is truly the beginning of some type of cognitive disfunction which is dementia. There are many forms of demential. My Dad was originally diagnosed with Alzheimer's when in fact he has vascular dementia. My Mom told us she was "depressed" but was diagnosed with moderate/sever dementia consistent with Alzheimer. In her case, the depression was a result of her Alzheimer. To be sure, your MIL needs testing by a geriatric neurologist/psychologist or memory assessment service.

You said your MIL had been worried about her memory... let this be your first clue that something is wrong. My Mom knew in the beginning that something was wrong with her memory.... yet she denied it as well. She hid it from us for several years blaming it all on Dad. It was being his caregiver that was the problem. We wanted to believe her and overlooked the obvious. One of her first symptoms was psychotic type behaviors. She would percipitate arguments with Dad that would escalate into physical and verbal fights. She got into an argument with a neighbor she had been friends with for 50 years and actually went outside and threw trash in her yard while screaming at her. She would cry hysterially, lock herself in her room, and tell us how terrible her life was. This was not a daily occurance but frequent enough to be disturbing. Only because one of us was usually on the other end of the phone or there did she not end up where you MIL is.

Then I started paying attention. Can your MIL keep up with the family financials? Can she balance the check book? Can she count backwards by 2's.. as in 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 0? Can she take her medication as prescribed without help? Is she becoming obcessive about some things and neglecting other things? Has she started burning pots? Does she tell you the same story over and over? Does she have trouble finding words that she wants? Does she argue with you adimately about things you know she is wrong about? I had to take off my blinders to see the truth and when I did the truth hit me square in the face. The entire time Mom kept denying anything was wrong. She only went for cognitive testing to prove me wrong!

Evidently they have found some signs of dementia.... thus the Aricept. As I said before the Effexor XR was the first anti depressant/anti anxiety med my Mom was prescribed. Neither "fixed" her problem..... because her underlying problem was Alzheimer's. Like with you, my grandmother also had Alzheimer. There is a genetic component in the disease.

I truly don't believe what you are dealing with is medication related. It is either sever depression or the dementia. You also said that neither your MIL or FIL have discussed what is going on. This is not unusual when one spouse is having major difficulties. One will cover for the other. Your FIL may not want to admit what is wrong and your MIL may not be mentally capable of understanding what is happening to her. In my case neither of my parents were mentally capable of understanding what was going on.

I would ask your FIL for a written report on your MIL. Most mental facilities provide or will provide this upon request. Or your husband could have his name put on your MIL's HIPPA forms so that he can talk to the doctor. Your MIL or FIL would have to approve this. Bottom line.... It's not the meds that are the problem but I would be moving heaven and earth to find out what the problem was and what was being done about it!

I am truly sorry you are deal with this situation. I have been in your shoes (except for the mental hospita) and know what you are feeling. I found information was comforting.... so go find out what is going on....

Love, deb

Old 09-28-2008, 06:09 PM   #3
Join Date: Aug 2006
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flowersx2 HB User
Re: Need drug info help

Thank you. It's a start in this crazy mess. It just makes me so sad that she is stuck there (we are all in different states) but your reply helped alot.

Old 09-28-2008, 10:08 PM   #4
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Re: Need drug info help

I truly understand Flower. I lived four hours away from at the time and my closest sister was two and a half hours away. I wish I knew how many times I hung up the phone, packed, and drove the four hours not knowing what I was going to be greeted with when I arrived home.... sometimes in the middle of the night. I know you hate your MIL being in a facility.... I hate that Mom and Dad have to be in Assisted Living but that is where they need to be.... and probably where your MIL needs to be in order to get diagnosis and treatment started. Hope you can find out what is going on......

Love, deb

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