Alzheimer's Support Network

Medications

From the Alzheimer’s Support Network:

Note on Alzheimer’s Drugs:

 

When there is a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, caregivers often go to extremes.  “I will go to the ends of the earth to find a cure” is a statement we often hear.  “I don’t care if it’s experimental, I don’t care how much it costs, I have to do something.”

We certainly sympathize with these statements.  And we will help you sort out what drugs have been approved by the FDA, and what treatment show promise.  Here are a few points to consider:

 

A CURE WILL NOT BE A SECRET:

When there is a cure for Alzheimer’s it will not be kept secret.  We will join the chorus of voices publicizing a true “cure.”  We eagerly await that day.   Until then, we will follow the latest research and report on promising studies.  If you know of on-going research or areas of investigation that we should be aware of, please let us know.  You can always email us at:  info@alzsupport.org or call:  (239) 262-8388.

 

FRAUD IS RAMPID:

We are vigilant in protecting our caregivers against fraud and abuse.  There are many pills, treatments, etc. that are being advertised as beneficial for Alzheimer’s patients that have little to no proven effect.  There are research programs that are well intended and meet professional standards, but do not yet meet the peer reviewed criteria.  And then there is out-and-out Fraud.   As lone caregivers seeking any ray of hope, we have seen many families fall victim to fraud and abuse.  If you suspect maleficence, please contact us and/or the Collier County Sheriff’s Office - Senior Advocacy Unit:  seniors@colliersheriff.net or (239) 252-0722

 

THE 50-50 RULE:

“If I don’t put my husband on these drugs, am I a bad person?”  Absolutely not.  About 50% of  the caregivers we see have used or are using one or more of the available drugs.  About 50% do not.

The best claim of the available drugs is that they slow the progression of the disease and retain functionality longer.
There are many reasons not to taking the available drugs:



REASONS NOT TO USE THE AVAILABLE MEDICATIONS:

(1)  They are not a cure.  At best you will be prolonging the decline.

(2)  The Cost:  all of the available drugs have a significant cost involved.

(3)  Side-Effects.  Gastro-Intestinal disturbances are most common (upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.)   In some cases, the side effects can be serious to life threatening.

(4)  They might Prolong the Decline.  This is a tough one.  Many caregiver who have used the medications and have gone through the entire process of the disease (through the death of their loved one) have said:  If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t use the drugs.  As one caregiver put it:  “it kept her in the disease longer.  I still lost her.  Looking back, I think it was cruel.   But I did it for me, I couldn’t let her go.  And I thought I was doing it for her.  I wouldn’t do it again.”

We do not advise you to use or not use any the major drugs on the market.  Well meaning friends, family and even doctors can push you into a decision that is not right for you. This is a personal decision, and we will support you in whatever you choose.     

For a Printable PDF version of the Table Below produced by the National Institute of Health:  Click Here


ARICEPT

Aricept is the brand name of donepezil.   From the National Institute of Health
Click here for more.

Aonxa is a "Medical Food" produced by Accera.  Introducd in 2009, Axona is reluated by the FDA and requires a prescription.
   According to Accera, Axona prodive an alternative energy source for brain cells, targeting metabolic deficiences associated with Alzheimer's disease.  There is debate in the medical community on it's effectiveness.  Click here for Axona Page


The Latest on Drugs for Alzheimer's diesase
  by bill beckwith  (Oct 2011)



We will be updating this page in the days to come.

For now,  you may go to our 
Medical Aspect Page of the Early Stage Workbook.