The decision to try medicine to treat behavior problems in
Alzheimer's disease is different for each person. The decision weighs the risks
and benefits of these medicines. Your doctor can help you decide. Medicines for
behavior problems linked to dementia do not work very well for most people and may have serious risks.
Medicines can be used to treat
behavior problems caused by
Alzheimer's disease and other diseases that cause
dementia. They should be used only after other nondrug
approaches have failed to improve a person's symptoms. Medicine may be needed
when the person is in danger of harming himself or herself or others or when
the caregiver is unable to deal with the situation using other means.
Most of us take our sense of smell for granted. But have you ever thought about what it would be like to not be able to smell something? The complete loss of smell is called anosmia (an-OHZ-me-uh). Without your sense of smell, food tastes different, you can't smell the scent of a flower, and you could find yourself in a dangerous situation, unknowingly. For example, without the ability to detect odors, you wouldn't smell a gas leak, smoke from a fire, or sour milk.
Taste and smell disorders send...
Examples of medicines sometimes used to treat hallucinations,
paranoia, and severe agitation in people who have dementia include aripiprazole, haloperidol, and risperidone.
FDA advisory. The U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) has issued an
advisory stating that people with dementia who use antipsychotics may
die sooner than those who don't use these drugs.
Antianxiety medicines, including minor
tranquilizers, relieve anxiety and mild agitation and may help calm the person.
But they can cause drowsiness if the dose is too high. When minor tranquilizers
are needed, short-term or occasional use often is better than continuous
Lorazepam and oxazepam are minor tranquilizers
sometimes used to treat the symptoms of dementia. Another antianxiety medicine called
buspirone also can be tried.
These medicines may increase confusion and upset
the person's balance. This raises the risk of falls.
A person may
become dependent on these medicines over time, causing even worse symptoms when
he or she suddenly stops taking them. To avoid this problem, these drugs
usually are stopped gradually after a few weeks of use.