Medications to Help Treat Alzheimer’s Disease
According to the Alzheimer’s Association more than 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s is a brain disease which causes impairment and progressive decline in thinking, reasoning, and memory.
[su_box title=”Alzheimer’s facts:” box_color=”#e0f1fa” title_color=”#303030″ radius=”7″] Between 2000 and 2017 deaths from Alzheimer’s Disease have increased 145% One in 3 seniors dies from Alzheimer’s or other dementia, which is more than breast cancer and prostate cancer deaths combined. Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. More than 16 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, providing 18.5 billion hours of care valued at close to $234 billion. Source: Alzheimer’s Association[/su_box]
Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
There is a difference between typical age-related changes, such as light forgetfulness and confusion which clears up, and Alzheimer’s Disease. If you or your loved one begin to have signs of short term memory loss (forgetting important dates and events, recently learned information), or begin to have trouble following instructions or solving problems (difficulty concentrating on tasks that have multiple steps, such as paying bills or putting dishes away in the right place), or forgetting names and people and having trouble following or joining in conversations, it’s time to speak to your doctor.
Another symptom is changes in mood, including depression, fear, or unfounded suspicions. Those with Alzheimer’s disease may even begin to withdraw from family events and stop participating in hobbies and social events. This is why patience and understanding are key for anyone who is living with the reality that their loved one has Alzheimer’s.
Because Alzheimer’s Disease affects the brain, patients in the late stages of the disease may become weakened and susceptible to infections. In addition, difficulty swallowing can lead to aspiration of food and water into the lungs, leading to pneumonia. This is why finding the proper medication to help delay or slow down the progression of the disease is so important.
The Alzheimer’s Association has put together a handy checklist to print off and take with you to your doctor’s appointment. Read “Preparing for your doctor’s visit”
Prescription Aricept for Alzheimer’s Disease
While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease there are prescription medications on the market that may help to slow down the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.
Aricept is the brand name for generic donepezil.
It is a medication used to treat dementia symptoms such as memory loss, confusion and problems with thinking and reasoning associated with mild, moderate or severe Alzheimer’s disease.
Aricept is known as a centrally acting reversible acetyl cholinesterase inhibitor. While it cannot stop the damage Alzheimer’s causes to brain cells, it affects a chemical involved in carrying messages among the brain’s nerve cells (cortical acetylcholine) by preventing its breakdown. This supports communication among nerve cells, which may slow down the progress of the disease.
Aricept is a once a day pill, usually taken before bed. It is generally well tolerated. If side effects occur, they commonly include nausea, loss of appetite and increased frequency of bowel movements.
Dosage depends on the patient’s individual needs and response to the medication. In order to minimize the side effects doctors will start the patient on a low dose and slowly increase it over the course of several weeks as needed.
- 5 mg
- 10 mg
To learn more about Aricept and/or donepezil, contact our team. We will be happy to answer your questions.
Further information on Aricept can be found at the following link: Learn More
How to cope with a loved one’s Alzheimer’s Disease diagnosis
As mentioned earlier, patience and understanding are important for anyone who is caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease. Changes in mood and behavior are very common with patients, and new lifestyle patterns and routines may become necessary.
The National Institute on Aging has helpful information on “Managing Personality and Behavior Changes in Alzheimer’s” you may find helpful.
If you have questions about your prescription medications or any other medication, please contact our team at Canada Online Health by calling toll free 1-800-399-DRUG (3784). One of our patient representatives will be happy to assist you or transfer you to a licensed Canadian pharmacist for a free consultation.
This article contains medical information provided to help you better understand this particular medical condition or process, and may contain information about medication often used as part of a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor. It is not intended to be used as either a diagnosis or recommendation for treatment of your particular medical situation. If you are unwell, concerned about your physical or mental state, or are experiencing symptoms you should speak with your doctor or primary health care provider. If you are in medical distress please contact emergency services (such as 911).