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Old 08-28-2011, 12:21 AM   #1
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Question life has changed.....

Hello everyone---my husband went to the hospital in March this year to have surgery in his left femur and took about 15 hours to "come to".Afterwards he was very confused and since then things have rapidly gone down the hill.He was diagnosed with Alzheimer`s 2 weeks ago and the doctor prescribed Aricept.I have not gotten this drug yet because the list of side=effects are so long!My husband already has hallucinations,delusions,fear anxiety,sometimes difficulty sleeping.....he still has good appetite and I do not want him to lose that.Also enjoys going out and interacting with people.I`m scared that this medication will interfere with his quality of life.Can someone please let me know their experience with Aricept---does it actually help ? Thanks.....:

 
Old 08-28-2011, 01:24 PM   #2
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Re: life has changed.....

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Originally Posted by aviovaimo View Post
Hello everyone---my husband went to the hospital in March this year to have surgery in his left femur and took about 15 hours to "come to".Afterwards he was very confused and since then things have rapidly gone down the hill.He was diagnosed with Alzheimer`s 2 weeks ago and the doctor prescribed Aricept.I have not gotten this drug yet because the list of side=effects are so long!My husband already has hallucinations,delusions,fear anxiety,sometimes difficulty sleeping.....he still has good appetite and I do not want him to lose that.Also enjoys going out and interacting with people.I`m scared that this medication will interfere with his quality of life.Can someone please let me know their experience with Aricept---does it actually help ? Thanks.....:
I am sorry that your husband is badly affected by the surgery. I don't know the details, but it seemed the surgery took a long time and it could affect your husband's brain. How do they know this is permanent dementia?

Since they think this is Alzheimer's, is it regular onset or early onset? I don't know your husband's age...

About aricept, I would like to tell you that it is NOT a problem whatsoever unless he has side effects. My FIL who has stage 6/7 Alzheimer's tried to take aricept in 2006/2007 but he had loss of appetite so we stopped it right away Aricept makes the patient more perceptive. But it only delays a little bit of the disease (like months) if he takes it regularly. There are other drugs also like namenda or exelon. There are 5 types of dementia drugs. Some are expensive.

My FIL took them for a year and half (namenda and exelon) but he stopped it due to too much confusion as side effect.

You do need to watch out for the side effects.

Basically there will be problems about taking these drugs later on - the problem is the drug does not resolve the issue of caregiving. If they are too confused, being perceptive is not helping!

Yes he can take aricept and he won't lose anything. This is not an antipsychotic drug so he won't be sleeping and so on. However, it may not be effective, that is all. Just watch out for side effects.
Aricept won't interfere with the quality of life unless he has side effects. If he has side effects, stop it right away.

I am sorry he has Alzheimer's. Hang in there and this board is a good place to get support.

Hugs,
Nina

 
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Old 08-28-2011, 05:02 PM   #3
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Re: life has changed.....

My husband was also put on Aricept when he was first diagnosed. He had really severe intestinal problems with it, which never got better (although he did a little better with it when he took it at bedtime). Eventually he switched to Reminyl (I may have misspelled it), which he tolerated a little better. We never saw any improvement with these drugs. I think their purpose is to slow down the progression of the disease, vs. to make a patient improve. You don't know if the drugs are working or not. We have to rely on the drug manufacturers' studies to know whether taking the drugs actually slows the progression of the disease for all patients. There aren't a lot of drugs for Alzheimers, and Aricept is widely prescribed.

When DH added Namenda, we did see a slight improvement. A few years ago Namenda was supposed to be the mid-stage drug and Aricept was the early-stage drug. I think that has also changed.

DH reported that he felt his brain was a little clearer for awhile with the Namenda, which was consistent with what another patient had told him at a support group.

DH chose to stop all drugs after awhile. Not only did he hate the way they made him feel, but he told us that dragging out the time that he lived with the disease was not something that he wanted to do. I think most families hope that the drugs extend the time that the patients are able to function and enjoy life.

I read once a long time ago that anaesthesia causes miniscule blood vessel breakage. In a normal brain, this is a nonevent. In a brain that has already been damaged by Alzheimers or other disease, the brain has fewer "work arounds" and the effects of this miniscule damage can be much more apparent. I don't know if this is true or not, but it made a lot of sense to me.

Last edited by Beginning; 08-28-2011 at 05:06 PM.

 
Old 08-28-2011, 06:40 PM   #4
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Re: life has changed.....

i am sorry to hear this. do you know why it took your husband so long to come to after surgery

 
Old 08-28-2011, 09:43 PM   #5
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Re: life has changed.....

Your anesthesiologist will swear it is not so but other physicians have told me the same thing Beginning has said. There is potential for damage from anesthesia and in some they do not continue as normal. Who did the Alzheimer's diagnosis? There is a tendency to lump all cognitive decline into the Alzheimer's category... especially by General or Family physicians. Dad was misdiagnosed for years. He actually had Vascular Dementia and not Alzheimer's.

As for the Aricept. Dad was put on the medication and he also had major gastrointestinal problems to the point of anemia. I didn't see any improvement and not sure it delayed the disease either. He was later put on Namenda which he tolerated a little better but again, there were no significant changes. Mom does have Alzheimer's and was put on Aricept and Namenda in the mid stages. Along with the gastrointestinal problems she also had a list of other side effects including behavioral problems, increased anxiety, and confusion. She, as Beginning's DH didn't want to take anything that extended her time with this disease. Since she was taken off the two medications she has actually progressed more slowly than she did before. I can't say that is because of the medication... just the way it has been with her!

I believe, if the meds can be given early in the disease when they have a level of cognition that gives they a quality of life then it is worth a try. After they have become dependent and are in the mid to late stages, what is the benefit of extending that time?

I will say that these few medications, which only have very limited ability to help a small percentage of patients and major side effects, are the only hope that doctors have to offer so they prescribe them very freely to anybody with cognitive decline. If I had to do it over again (considering Mom was in the mid stages when she was diagnosed) I would say no to these drugs to start with. If she had been diagnosed three years prior when in the early stages I would have probably said yes. That's all in hind sight and what I would do....

Love, deb

 
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