Dementia Medications for elderly: the Pros and Cons
Dementia is a symptom of many different disorders. As individuals age, the body may develop more than one medical condition. Many seniors take more than five medications a day.
As a body ages, the number of medications increases. This is because the different medical diagnoses require medication for treatment.
Seniors are very susceptible to adverse reactions to medications. The body’s decreased ability to process different chemicals in those medications.
There is no cure for dementia. The medications are given to treat the symptoms of the disease. Some of these medications are designed to slow down the progression of the disease.
Other medications treat the symptoms of:
- Aggressive behaviors
- Disturbed sleeping patterns.
Deciding on whether to treat or not treat the symptoms of this terrible condition… becomes a debate for many individuals and their family members. It is important when deciding to treat or not to treat to take several things into consideration.
More on dementia medications for elderly…
The severity of the individual’s condition is the first thing to consider.
- Do the symptoms interfere with activities of daily living?
- Are the potential side effects of the medications worth the risk?
- How beneficial has the medication been shown to be in making an improvement in ability?
- What are the anticipated results from this medication?
- How long will the medications need to be taken?
- What is the cost of this medication?
Asking these questions will assist you… in making an educated decision with your family members. Or help make a mutual decision with your health care provider.
Here are a few key points about medications that may assist you in making an informed decision:
The medications to treat Alzheimer’s disease are not effective for everyone. Many times the effectiveness is minimal.
The present medications for Alzheimer’s will not completely eliminate the symptoms. Nor will it prevent the disease from advancing. Some individuals may experience minor and temporary improvements in memory and physical functions.
Eventually the medications to treat Alzheimer’s… are no longer able to stop the progression of the disease.
The memory, behaviors, thinking and personality changes continue to advance… into the later stages of this disabling disorder.
The Archives of Internal Medicine, May 2011 journal released the results of a study. This study was on the unrecognized and serious adverse effects of cholinesterase inhibitors … in older adults with dementia.
This very large study concluded… that under recognized serious adverse effects of these medications… must be weighed against the modest benefits of these medications.
The journal went on to release the information of the participants. They looked at the adverse medical effects that patients experienced on cholinesterase inhibitors. They compared that to those that did not.
The individuals that took the cholinesterase inhibitors:
- Had a statically higher number of hospital visits for syncope (dizziness).
- Had a higher number of hospital visits for bradycardia (A slow heart beat below 60 beats per minute).
- Required a significantly higher number of pacemakers inserted.
- Suffered a significantly higher amount of hip fractures.
- It is always important to discuss the risks and benefits with your health care provider. Then make an informed decision that you feel is right for you or your member.