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Namenda Withdrawal and start up

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Old 09-19-2011, 01:06 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: LA
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kathyrho HB User
Namenda Withdrawal and start up

I'll be brief. I am my 89 year old mom's caregiver. Mom's had dementia for a number of years now taking Namenda and Aricept. Recently she's lost weight and the heart doctor changed some meds. I asked her GP if we could take mom off the dementia meds as she was too far gone for them to help. He said we could try and always put her back on them. So we stopped the Namenda and Aricept. That was about 4 weeks ago.

Last week mom started talking excessively, incoherenant and slurring though, and hallucinating some. Mom hasn't been much of a talker in recent years. This scared me and I called the dr. We decided to call in hospice.

We put her back on the Namenda and aricept a week ago today. She seemed to do well but slept a lot. I thought she was just catching up. But 2 days ago she was sleeping heavy all day, weak and not eating much, and not responding as well verbally as she used to, which wasn't much so now it's really bad.

I researched namenda and learned that dosage should beging 5mg, the 10mg, the 15mg then 20mg a day a week at a time. Well we started mom back up at 20 mg a day, the pills are 10 mg 2 times a day.

I'm wondering if this is the real problem now. I called hospice and not comfortable with the answer. Nurse told me she was not familiar with namenda then told me just give her 10mg. I asked her to speak to someone more familiar. The answer came back take her off all together and if she hallucinates to give her the hallidol. I do not like this off the cuff decision. I have a call in to her doctor, whom I'm not supposed to call. But I am the one responsible and in charge, no one else. I'm waiting to hear back.

I'm wondering if anyone has experience or knowledge of taking someone off the namenda and aricept and then abruptly putting them back on.

Thanks for any info.

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Old 09-19-2011, 02:36 PM   #2
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Re: Namenda Withdrawal and start up

Actually what Hospice told you was right. If there is a question about the side effects or effectiveness of the Namenda they you should give a half dose and see if it gets better or worse. It is standard practice in medicine that is probably not used enough

By the time Hospice is contacted most patients are off the Namenda/Aricept medications. Hospice uses different medications to control symptoms of the disease rather than a medication that is designed to slow the disease. Haldol is a medication that has been used successfully for many years to control the mental distress because it has so few side effects.

So what you heard from your Hospice staff is exactly what I have heard many times before. It's not off the cuff, though might have appeared at such. Remember... the Namenda/Aricept will not take Mom back to where she was. Your doctor was not correct in saying we can always put her back on. If she does decline when the meds are stopped there is no getting that back. Putting her back on the medication will at best slow from where she is the moment they put her back on the meds.

Love, deb

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