Tips For Taking Medicines For Dementia
The person with dementia may need support to manage their medications. You may find it helpful to do the following:
- Develop a routine for giving the medication: ask the pharmacist if medications should be taken at a certain time of day or with our without food. Then create a daily ritual. This might involve taking medications with breakfast or right before bed.
- Pill boxes or blister packs: ask your pharmacist about aids to help you to give medication as prescribed, eg, using pill boxes or blister packs. Read more about remembering to take your medicine.
- Swallowing difficulties: if swallowing is a problem, talk to your pharmacist or doctor. Read more about difficulty swallowing medicines.
- Side effects: ask your doctor or pharmacist about what side effects might occur with the medication and what you should do if you get them. Some dementia medicines may make the symptoms worse, so it’s important to be aware of this and let your doctor know. Read more about medicines and side effects.
- Get the treatment reviewed regularly: a medicine which is useful may not continue to be effective indefinitely because of the progressive changes to the brain caused by dementia.
- Keep a record of all medications, including over-the-counter medicines such as pain relievers, cold medicines and antacids. Also include creams or eye ointments, vitamins, herbal supplements and complementary medicines. Take this record to medical appointments.
Psychological And Psychosocial Therapies
Psychological therapies for dementia include some limited evidence for reminiscence therapy , some benefit for cognitive reframing for caretakers, unclear evidence for validation therapy and tentative evidence for mental exercises, such as cognitive stimulation programs for people with mild to moderate dementia. Offering personally tailored activities may help reduce challenging behavior and may improve quality of life. It is not clear if personally tailored activities have an impact on affect or improve for the quality of life for the caregiver.
Adult daycare centers as well as special care units in nursing homes often provide specialized care for dementia patients. Daycare centers offer supervision, recreation, meals, and limited health care to participants, as well as providing respite for caregivers. In addition, home care can provide one-to-one support and care in the home allowing for more individualized attention that is needed as the disorder progresses. Psychiatric nurses can make a distinctive contribution to people’s mental health.
Some London hospitals found that using color, designs, pictures and lights helped people with dementia adjust to being at the hospital. These adjustments to the layout of the dementia wings at these hospitals helped patients by preventing confusion.
Personally tailored activities
Types Of Dementia Medications
Several prescription medications are approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat symptoms of dementia caused by AD. These drugs can provide short-term relief from cognitive dementia symptoms. Some can also help slow the progression of AD-related dementia.
While these drugs are approved to treat symptoms of AD, theyre not approved to treat symptoms of other types of dementia. However, researchers are exploring off-label uses of these medications for people with non-AD dementias.
OFF-LABEL DRUG USE
Off-label drug use means that a drug thats been approved by the FDA for one purpose is used for a different purpose that hasnt been approved. However, a doctor can still use the drug for that purpose. The FDA regulates the testing and approval of drugs, but not how doctors use drugs to treat their patients. So, your doctor can prescribe a drug however they think is best for your care.
According to the Alzheimers Association, some AD medications may benefit people with Parkinsons disease dementia and vascular dementia.
Some of the most commonly prescribed medications used to treat symptoms of AD are cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine.
Cholinesterase inhibitors work by increasing acetylcholine, a chemical in your brain that aids in memory and judgment. Increasing the amount of acetylcholine in your brain may delay dementia-related symptoms. It may also prevent them from worsening.
The more common side effects of cholinesterase inhibitors include:
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How Do I Know My Loved One Has Medication
Early diagnosis of the disease can help manage it properly and slow down the progression. A person developing medication-induced dementia will show symptoms that can be examined to confirm the diagnosis. The medical symptoms of dementia include:
- The patient struggles to concentrate for a long period
- Behavioural changes
- Struggling to remember daily life information
- State of confusion
If the symptoms are overlooked and the medication is not stopped, the condition may worsen with time. As dementia is a progressive disease, it never stops advancing and continues to aggravate. Different medicines are used to treat the symptoms such as dementia medication donepezil is used to manage the state of confusion.
It is of utmost importance to get yourself checked frequently if dementia runs in the family or you are of age. Communicate to the doctor about common medications that may cause dementia and act accordingly.
Commonwealth Respite And Carelink Centre
- Aged care and dementia services such as support groups, meal and nursing services, day care centres, household support services and respite providers in the local area
- The Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre can provide more information on the costs associated with respite care
- Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre – BH: 1800 052 222, AH: 1800 059 059
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Who Cannot Take Medicines For Dementia
In general, most people are able to take these medicines. Caution may be needed in people with certain medical problems. For example, people with severe liver or kidney problems may not be able to take them, or they may need a lower dose. Care also needs to be taken in people who have had fits in the past.
What Are The Risk Factors For Dementia
The risk factors for developing dementia include age and family history. Age and a family history of dementia are non-modifiable risk factors. Abnormal genes which are associated with Alzheimer’s disease have been identified, but are only rarely involved in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes increase the risks of developing either Alzheimer’s disease or multi-infarct dementia. Some medications can lead to memory problems which look like dementia.
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What You Can Do About Medications And Difficult Dementia Behaviors
If your relative with dementia is not yet taking medications for behaviors, consider these tips:
- Start keeping a journal and learn to identify triggers of difficult behaviors. You will need to observe the person carefully. Your journaling will come in handy later if you start medications, as this will help you monitor for benefit and side-effects.
- Learn to redirect and de-escalate difficult dementia behaviors. Contact your local Alzheimers Association chapter or local Area Agency on Aging to find support near you. You can also learn a good approach in this article: 7 Steps to Managing Difficult Dementia Behaviors
- Ask your doctor to help assess for pain and/or constipation. Consider a trial of scheduled acetaminophen, and see if this helps.
- Consider the possibility of depression. Consider a trial of escitalopram or a related antidepressant, but realize any effect will take weeks to appear.
- For all medications for dementia behaviors:
- Monitor carefully for evidence of improvement and for signs of side-effects.
- Doses should be increased a little bit at a time.
- Especially for antipsychotics, the goal is to find the minimum necessary dose to keep behavior manageable.
If your relative with dementia is currently taking medications for behaviors, then you will have to consider at least the following two issues.
The other issue is to make sure you are aware of any risks or side-effects that the current medications may be causing.
Troubling Trio: Many With Dementia Take Risky Combinations Of Medicines
Despite guidelines, 14% are on three or more drugs that act on the brain and nervous system families and providers should review prescriptions regularly.
People over 65 shouldnt take three or more medicines that act on their brain and nervous system, experts strongly warn, because the drugs can interact and raise the risk of everything from falls to overdoses to memory issues.
But a new study finds that 1 in 7 people with dementia who live outside nursing homes are taking at least three of these drugs.
Even if they received the drugs to calm some of dementias more troubling behavioral issues, the researchers say, taking them in combination could accelerate their loss of memory and thinking ability, and raise their chance of injury and death.
The new study is published in JAMA by a team led by a University of Michigan geriatric psychiatrist who has studied the issue of medication for dementia-related behaviors for years.
Its based on data from 1.2 million people with dementia covered by Medicare and focuses on medications such as antidepressants, sedatives used as sleep medications, opioid painkillers, antipsychotics and anti-seizure medications.
More than 831,000 of the entire study population received at least one of the medications at least once during the study period in 2018. More than 535,000 of them nearly half of all the people with dementia in the study took one or two of them for more than a month.
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Why The Drugs Affect Your Mind
Both anticholinergics and benzodiazepines affect the activity of neurotransmitterschemical messengers that work in the central nervous systembut the drugs work in slightly different ways.
Anticholinergic drugs block the action of acetylcholine. In the brain, acetylcholine is involved in learning and memory. In the rest of the body, it stimulates the autonomic nervesthose that regulate contractions of blood vessels, airways, and our cardiovascular and digestive systems. The strongest anticholinergic drugs include some antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants, medications to control overactive bladder, and sleeping pills.
Benzodiazepines boost another neurotransmitter’s effectiveness. They make gamma-aminobutyric acid which slows the activity of neurons in the brain-more potent. For that reason, they are used to calm anxiety and help people sleep.
What Is The Life Expectancy For Dementia Can It Be Cured
There is no cure for dementia.
- Although Alzheimer’s disease is listed as the 6th most common cause of death in the U.S.. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease most commonly die due to infections caused by lack of mobility.
- Pneumonia, bladder infections, bedsores, and other causes can lead to more wide-spread infection and subsequent death.
- Patients with dementias have widely varying life expectancies, depending on the underlying cause of their dementia. Life expectancy can range from only 1 to 2 years to more than 15 years the average duration of the disease is between 4 and 8 years after diagnosis.
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Bring Down Blood Pressure Now
While more research investigates the brain benefits of blood pressure meds, you can play it smart by taking healthy lifestyle steps to keep blood pressure in a healthy range. Here are some of the best strategies.
That means nixing processed foodseven canned vegetables, which are oftenhigh in sodium. Among the most successful blood-pressure-lowering diets area Mediterranean diet or DASH .Both diets are high in fruits, vegetables,whole grains, low-fat dairy, poultry, fish and nuts, but low in harmful fats, red meat,sweets and sugary drinks. The effects can be quick, with blood pressurereductions in just two weeks.
Shed extra weight.
In one analysis of 25 clinical trials, losing an average of 11 poundsshaved 4.4 points offsystolic blood pressure and 3.6 points offdiastolic. Other studies have found that modest weight loss canprevent hypertension in overweight people, even if they dont reduce theamount of sodium in their diet.
Check blood pressure at home.
Monitoring your blood pressure at home can improve blood pressuremanagement more than just seeing your doctor. You can purchase automaticblood pressure cuffs for as little as $35 ask your doctor for arecommendation. Many pharmacies and drugstores also offer free bloodpressure readings.
Johns Hopkins Home Care
Behavioural Therapy For Dementia
Behavioural therapy works to understand the source of the behaviour, and then suggest alternative strategies to address the underlying cause.
For example, a person with dementia may have a history of wandering out of their home because they feel restless. Therefore, encouraging such people to find another outlet for their restlessness, such as regular physical activity, might address the problematic behaviour.
Behavioural therapy is not a solution to the many behavioural problems associated with dementia , but it is a useful tool in lessening their impact. Behavioural therapy is supervised by a healthcare professional, but can often be given by a trained friend or relative, usually the main family carer.
As in all treatments for any disease, everyone is different and reacts differently results can vary by day or even parts of days. It is, therefore, important to keep checking in with the medical team if you notice any changes in your parents behaviour. It may be possible to change the dementia drugs or try a new dementia therapy to support their condition as it progresses.
To help make sure you know what to look out for, weve put together a list of the most common early signs of dementia, which you can take a look at in more detail. You can also download our free guide to dementia for information on diagnosis, legal considerations and support available.
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How Carers Can Help With Medicine Management
Dementia can affect a persons memory, mood, communication and behaviour. This can make it difficult for a person with dementia to manage their medicines well on their own. Families, friends and carers can use strategies to help the person with dementia take their medicines correctly.1
- Create a routine by keeping the same medicine times every day.
- Put medicines out at the same time as meals, eg, morning medicines with breakfast.
- If the person does not want to take their medicines, do something else for a short time and then try to give the medicines again.
- If the person finds it difficult to take many medicines all together, try giving their medicines in two or more separate groups.
- If the person doesnt like the taste or look of their medicines, or has trouble swallowing medicines, ask your doctor or pharmacist if the medicines can be crushed or given in a different formula, such as a liquid or skin patch.
Medications For The Treatment Of Alzheimers Disease
There are two types of medications: acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and NMDA receptor antagonists. The two types work in different ways.
Below we provide details of both types of dementia medication, how they are administered, as well as who may benefit from them, and any side effects to look out for.
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How Is Dementia Diagnosed
To diagnosis dementia, testing is performed by doctors. While in-office screening assessments are sometimes enough to confirm a diagnosis, at other times a more in-depth evaluation is required. Blood testing and imaging studies are often completed to confirm that reversible conditions such as thyroid disease or certain vitamin deficiencies are not present.
Diversifying The Drug Pipeline
Scientists all over the world are following a similar path. Theyre looking beyond the single strategy most dementia researchers have studied in the past clearing toxic amyloid plaques from the brain, a hallmark of Alzheimers disease and instead are pumping more possibilities than ever before into dementias drug pipeline.
The roles the immune system and the metabolic system play in the development of dementia are under the microscope. Researchers including many funded by the National Institutes of Health , which is expected to spend $2.8 billion on Alzheimers research in 2020 are also studying everything from blood vessels to hormonal factors to solve the dementia dilemma.
We now know that the brain is part of a larger system, explains Rebecca Edelmayer, director of scientific engagement at the Alzheimers Association. And there may be many other ways to target the overall health of the brain so that it stays as fit as possible throughout the aging process and is able to stave off signs and symptoms of Alzheimers disease and other dementias, she adds.
AARPs investment is one example of how we are working to improve the lives of older Americans. Millions of individuals and their families are affected by dementia, and the need for effective treatments has never been more critical.
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What To Do If Swallowing Pills Is A Problem
Many people with dementia have trouble swallowing. If you are running into this problem it may be easier to swallow pills if their head is tilted forward . You can also ask your pharmacist if the medicine comes in liquid form. If it does, you can give the medicine with a spoon or a cup, or mix it with food.
If it doesn’t come in liquid form, you may be able to crush pills or open capsules and mix the medicine in a spoon with applesauce, pudding, yogurt, or other soft food. But, it is important to know that some pills or capsules must never be crushed or opened. It can be dangerous to do so. Be sure to check with your pharmacist. The table below lists words in a medicine’s name that tell you it should not be crushed or opened. Here is a detailed list of medicines that should not be opened or crushed.
Do Not Crush Pills or Open Capsules If