Alzheimer’s medications help slow the progression of symptoms. They can be very expensive, which leads families to wonder if they’re worth the cost. Here are some tips on discussing the pros and cons of these medications with your dad’s doctor.
Ask About the Different Medications Used to Treat Alzheimer’s Disease
In the mild to moderate stages of Alzheimer’s cholinesterase inhibitors like donepezil, galantamine, and rivastigmine are used to help slow the deterioration of a brain chemical that helps with memory and thinking skills. Common side effects of these are a loss of appetite, insomnia, lethargy, nausea, and muscle pain.
Memantine or a combination of memantine and cholinesterase inhibitors are used in the moderate to severe stages. Side effects of those pills include constipation, dizziness, joint and muscle pain, lethargy, and nausea. Make sure the right medications are being offered.
If your parent shows signs of depression, which is common with a chronic condition like Alzheimer’s, a prescription antidepressant may also be suggested. Additional medications may be necessary if your parent has delusions, anxiety, aggression, or extreme restlessness.
Are There Less Expensive Options?
If your mom’s doctor has her taking Namzaric and it’s costing her $450 a month, you may want to talk to the doctor about more affordable options. Be honest and say the cost is too much. There may be generics that can help.
Could the Medications Be Making Her Worse?
-While the medications help ease Alzheimer’s symptoms, side effects often lead family members to wonder if it’s worthwhile. If your mom gets dizzy after taking her pill, she’s more likely to fall. If she falls and breaks a hip or hits her head, it could be a problem.
-Your mom’s doctor may have suggestions on how to minimize the side effects. Taking medications at night before going to bed can help prevent a fall. Ask the doctor for other suggestions for avoiding the common side effects.
-As questions arise, be sure to keep a list. Ask your dad’s pharmacist or doctor the next time to you go in for a refill or bring your dad for an appointment. If you find it hard to take him to his appointments, talk to a home care agency.
Home care professionals can drive your dad to stores and appointments. They can help him remember to take medications and cook his meals. Call a home care agency to learn more about the ways caregivers can help someone with Alzheimer’s age at home.