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Alzheimer's Disease Frequently Asked Questions

Print these questions and answers to discuss with your health care provider.

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Understanding Alzheimer's Disease: the Basics

Alzheimer's is a disease that robs people of their memory. At first, people have a hard time remembering recent events, though they might easily recall things that happened years ago. As time goes on, other symptoms can appear, including: Trouble focusing A hard time doing ordinary activities Feeling confused or frustrated, especially at night Dramatic mood swings -- outbursts of anger, anxiety, and depression Feeling disoriented and getting lost easily Physical problems, such...

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1. Are there any medications that someone with Alzheimer's disease should avoid?

A person with Alzheimer's disease may be taking medicines to treat symptoms of the disease as well as other health problems. However, when a person takes many medications there is an increased risk of having an adverse reaction, including confusion, agitation, sleepiness or sleeplessness, mood swings, memory problems, and/or stomach upset.

While it may become necessary for a person to take medicine to treat the severe symptoms of Alzheimer's disease -- such as hallucinations or aggressive behavior -- some of these medications can worsen other symptoms of the disease. For example:

It is important to discuss the pros and cons of these treatment options with your doctor before making a decision regarding medication. In addition, it is important to consider the possible side effects of over-the-counter medications, including cough and cold remedies, and sleep medicines. These drugs may also react with other medications taken by the person with Alzheimer's disease. It is best to consult your doctor before using any over-the-counter medication.

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How long have you been taking care of someone with Alzheimer's?