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Old 07-06-2010, 07:58 PM   #1
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Does Namenda or Exelon cause loss of personality?

Hello,

I am new to this board, but am so happy to have found it! My father was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia about 6 weeks ago. Of course...he began to show signs of memory loss a few years ago and we have put off the inevitable...going to a Neurologist.

I am my parents primary caretaker. My mother is 74 and dad is 83...and mom and I are doing our best to keep them together at home for as long as possible. Dad is under care of Hospice for close to a year now with a diagnosis of debilitation.

He has been on Namenda for 6 weeks now, 2 times daily and Exelon patch...I think 9.5 mg daily.

My question is this: I have noticed that my father seems a lot quieter and doesn't have much to say at all since starting the Namenda and increasing the patch. In a way, this is good because the dementia is from a stroke 9 years ago that damaged his frontal lobe. He has been very loud and says sexually inappropriate things to me. He has become obsessed with sex, sex, sex...but now it makes sense to us because the frontal lobe is responsible for personality, etc.

While the inappropriate comments have virtually stopped, he seems to have not much of a personality much at all now. He acts very serious, has a furrowed brow, and it seems that nothing makes him happy anymore at all.

He is also on Lexapro, 10 mg daily for depression and crying episodes that were very frequent. His crying episodes have virtually stopped as well, and this is good because my mom and I hated to see him cry all of the time.

Does anyone know which medication could be causing him to lose his personality? I'm sure all here can relate to the fact that it's either one way or the other...but no happy medium!

Any advice is appreciated on which medication causes what side effects.

Thanks so much!

Lko

 
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Old 07-06-2010, 08:16 PM   #2
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Re: Does Namenda or Exelon cause loss of personality?

Welcome Iko I hate you needed to find us but glad you did!!!

My father also had vascular dementia and was on Namenda and Aricept until the last few months. I didn't see that it took away his personality at all. He remained his good natured humorous self for a long time. I suspect that it's probably the disease and not the medication. With each small vascular event a little bit more goes. Unlike Alzheimer's, Vascular Dementia is not a slow steady progression but usually a step down. The only way to know for sure is to stop the medication and see what happens. Each person does respond differently. Dad did become much quieter towards the end. His ability to process what was being said to him and express what he wanted to say seemed to be more impaired. His frowns were because he truly didn't understand what was going on around him. Sometimes it is really hard to determine what causes what. If he has lost the crying and the inappropriate behavior, his quietness might be a small price to pay.

Just so you know you are not alone, Dad went through a period of inappropriate sexual behavior as well. Then one day it abated.

We also tried to keep Mom and Dad t home as long as possible. Mom did a good job until her diagnosis with Alzheimer's turned it all upside down. They spent a rough year and a half in assisted living (we were still trying to keep them together) until Mom got bad enough we ended up moving them both into a locked unit together. We did separate them for a short time but just in different rooms in the same unit. That gave them each a cooling off space. On the good days they still both stayed in Mom's room. on the bad days they had their own room. Eventually they were placed in the same room again until Dad died March 5.

Just be aware of the toll it is taking on your Mom and keep your options open for a different arrangement.

Hope to hear from you often

Love, deb

PS... I will say that in the later stages those medications are not proven to do much. Doctor's don't have anything else to offer. They may have helped Dad because he started them early but if given the choice again, knowing what I know now, I probably would not have started Mom on the medications. Do you really want to slow the progression at a bad stage in the disease?

Last edited by Gabriel; 07-06-2010 at 08:18 PM.

 
Old 07-06-2010, 08:46 PM   #3
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Re: Does Namenda or Exelon cause loss of personality?

Iko

My wife was on Namenda and Aricept at the age of 51 - Pick's Dementia. I couldn't really tell that they helped at all, since her progression was so fast. She died about a year and a half after diagnosis. The meds seemed pretty pointless to me.

As far as the loss of personality. I would tell you it's probably the disease progression. It can happen very suddenly with FTD type of dementias. My wife's personality (or what there was of it) went quickly soon after her diagnosis. But she became a very docile, sweet little shell of herself. Very rarely did she show any emotion. And when she did it was very short lived - about a minute or two, then she would just kind of fade away into her own little world. She said very little the last year of her life, and for the last 6 months said nothing.

It's such a sad disease. And there's nothing you can do to slow it down. It just takes it's course at it's own rate.

Sorry you had to find us. But we're here to offer what advice we can and to listen.

K

Last edited by kenbob71; 07-06-2010 at 08:48 PM.

 
Old 07-07-2010, 03:07 AM   #4
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Re: Does Namenda or Exelon cause loss of personality?

It is the disease that causes the personality changes, not the drugs. The drugs help -usually not very much - to delay the progession of the disease. However, nothing yet invented can stop it. If your Dad is calmer and less agitated that is a good thing. Personality changes seem to be a major component of this illness.

Good luck !

Love,

Martha

 
Old 07-09-2010, 03:24 PM   #5
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Re: Does Namenda or Exelon cause loss of personality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kenbob71 View Post
Iko

My wife was on Namenda and Aricept at the age of 51 - Pick's Dementia. I couldn't really tell that they helped at all, since her progression was so fast. She died about a year and a half after diagnosis. The meds seemed pretty pointless to me.

As far as the loss of personality. I would tell you it's probably the disease progression. It can happen very suddenly with FTD type of dementias. My wife's personality (or what there was of it) went quickly soon after her diagnosis. But she became a very docile, sweet little shell of herself. Very rarely did she show any emotion. And when she did it was very short lived - about a minute or two, then she would just kind of fade away into her own little world. She said very little the last year of her life, and for the last 6 months said nothing.

It's such a sad disease. And there's nothing you can do to slow it down. It just takes it's course at it's own rate.

Sorry you had to find us. But we're here to offer what advice we can and to listen.

K
Wow at 51 y/o that is so sad and I feel for you. What is Pick's Dementia and am I genetically disposed to it? My Dad has Vascular Dementia and I am only 38. To say it is hard is an understatement and how are you doing? I just feel alone with this disgusting disease and your responses I can relate to. It is like the nurses and Dr's are just treating him so he won't be as aggitated when they visit. Does that make sense? I live with my parents but my Mom doesn't tell me too much. Her other kids (who NEVER see my Dad are the successor POA) and the Dr increased his Seroquel and it made him more restless and tired. The Aricept and Nemenda I am not familiar with. I know what you mean that the meds don't help. He is on Nemenda, Lexapro, and Seroquil and it is sad that there are not better meds to help with this disease.

 
Old 07-09-2010, 06:38 PM   #6
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Re: Does Namenda or Exelon cause loss of personality?

Josie,
There is so little research and understanding of FTD Frontotemporal Lobe Dementias that honestly, no one knows what works. For us, I just didn't see any slow down of the symptoms. If they did slow it down, God help us. Cause It went really fast.

As far as Pick's goes. Here's what I think I know. It's a form of FTD. It's rare. It "can" be heredetary. I hope not, cause I have two daughters. But my wife's grandmother had "something" they diagnosed as Alzheimer's ... but hearing about the progression and symptoms, I'm not so sure.

Soon after my wife was diagnosed, we entered the research program at University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB) - a phenomenal group of folks. We went for maybe 3 visits before she got too far along to even travel the 4 hours.

She fell into that very small category of people who have clinical dementia, but upon autopsy of the brain, didn't show the usual charateristics. She was in the 1% of all FTD patients. Scary. I try not to think about it.

It's strange. 3 years ago I'd never even heard of it, now I could write a book about it, and the care giving role.

I hope to never see this again.

Keep posting. K

As for other forms of FTD, I don't know the risk of genetics. I hope it's not.

We all have grown up thinking that dementia is an "old person's disease"... well, it's not. I've found so many people like myself.

 
Old 07-09-2010, 10:47 PM   #7
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Re: Does Namenda or Exelon cause loss of personality?

Josie, if your Dad has Vascular Dementia then it is very different from Picks. Him having Vascular Dementia would not make you have the genetic component for Picks. Vascular Dementia is caused by when the brain is deprived of oxygen. It is usually in conjunction with strokes, mini strokes, narrowing of the blood vessels, or other cardiovascular problems. That is what my Dad had and it is different from Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia.

Regardless of what type of dementia your Dad has, there is not anything that can be done that will make it better. The Namenda and Aricept only slow down the progression in some cases. It doesn't work for everybody and it does have side effects. Since you can not make the disease better you have to treat the symptoms they display. All you can do is treat agitation, paranoia, combativeness, and other symptoms with psychiatric medications to control the symptoms.

As the psychiatrist that treated Mom explained to me. If Mom had a physical pain I would treat her with the appropriate pain medication. I would not let her stay in physical pain. The symptoms of paranoia, combativeness, depression, agitation, aggression, etc is emotional pain. Why would I want to let her stain in emotional pain? So you treat the symptoms to make the patient more comfortable as they go through this disease. It is not for the doctors or the nurses or the caregiver as much as it is for the comfort of the patient. Yes, it does make them easier to deal with but that is because they are experiencing the emotional pain they were in. Mom went through several years of extreme emotional pain before she was put on a cocktail of four psychiatric medications. Yes, she was groggy and disoriented at first but those side effects abated and what we were left with was a much happier Mom. It takes several weeks to know the true effects of a psychiatric medication so it's a slow process to find the right med or the right mix but I can tell you it's worth it. My Mom has gone from hysterical to smiling!! Dad was also on several medications for his symptoms as well and I do believe they helped him be happier in his last years.

Hopefully one day in the future we will have treatments for this disease that will help more than what we have now...

Love, deb

Last edited by Gabriel; 07-09-2010 at 10:48 PM.

 
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