Skip to comments.Doctors Say Medication Is Overused in Dementia
Posted on 06/24/2008 7:25:12 PM PDT by neverdem
Ramona Lamascola thought she was losing her 88-year-old mother to dementia. Instead, she was losing her to overmedication.
Last fall her mother, Theresa Lamascola, of the Bronx, suffering from anxiety and confusion, was put on the antipsychotic drug Risperdal. When she had trouble walking, her daughter took her to another doctor the younger Ms. Lamascolas own physician who found that she had unrecognized hypothyroidism, a disorder that can contribute to dementia.
Theresa Lamascola was moved to a nursing home to get these problems under control. But things only got worse. My mother was screaming and out of it, drooling on herself and twitching, said Ms. Lamascola, a pediatric nurse. The psychiatrist in the nursing home stopped the Risperdal, which can cause twitching and vocal tics, and prescribed a sedative and two other antipsychotics.
I knew the drugs were doing this to her, her daughter said. I told him to stop the medications and stay away from Mom.
Not until yet another doctor took Mrs. Lamascola off the drugs did she begin to improve.
The use of antipsychotic drugs to tamp down the agitation, combative behavior and outbursts of dementia patients...
The physician she consulted, Dr. Kennedy of Montefiore, stopped her mothers antipsychotics and sedatives and prescribed Aricept.
Its not clear whether it was getting her hypothyroid and other medical issues finally under control or getting rid of the offending medications, he said. But she had a miraculous turnaround.
Theresa Lamascola still has dementia, but she went from confinement in a wheelchair unable to sit still and screaming out in fear to being able to walk with help, sit peacefully, have some memory and ability to communicate, understand subtleties of conversations and even make jokes.
Or, as her daughter put it, I got my mother back.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
and pretty much everywhere else, right?
Fortunately, not in our public schools...
Most doctors consider dementia and Alzheimers patients as a lost cause. Medicate and forget about them, let the nursing homes collect their SS checks.
take your meds.
Aricept works wonders for a while, then fades out.
This does not describe the doctors I work with every day. Sorry about yours. The fact remains, and unremarked in this article, is that the most common misdiagnosis in geriatrics is to diagnose treatable depression as dementia. I couldn't count the "demented" patients I have seen who have cognitively cleared once antidepressant medication was begun.
Doctors are not omnipotent. The family has responsibilities to describe to the doctor what the patient was like before and after the medication, and what effects the medication seems to be having. The doctor only sees the patient for a short time, often months apart, and cannot always see what is happening.
At least there is a for a while. As long as the patients realize that this medication is short term, they have some time to get it right with friends and relatives. Not like quick onset systems with no medical reprieve.
Crap! I forgot!
don't overdo it, now.
Gee, I can only report on things overheard in the doctors lounge (keeping my anonymity at the foremost). ;-)
if people don't like the the nursing homes, please, do the taxpayers a favor and take your loved ones home......quit complaining about situations that earlier generations just accepted as part of life...
my mom took her sickly mother home to our smallish house with 6 kids and a husband/father who didn't make very much money.....she would never have even thought about dumping her mother in a facility, even though it meant hardship....
its actually WE that feed the drug companies....we demand antibiotics for the sniffles and then claim that they "really" helped even though it was a virus....
I would bet that most of the people I work with have Lortab/Vicodan prescriptions or antidepressants or sleeping pills etc...
we are over medicated and over treated.....but SO many people like it that way and feel dissapointed if they aren't....
Sorry, dont know what I said to provoke this I was talking about doctors that give up on patients and allow them to become part of the elder care system. I have nothing against these care centers, will probably be in one soon. ;-)
I can write a book. Stay away from their darned drugs.
Sadly, you're correct. This describes my mother. A huge trap was laid for her years ago. Now she's ensnared and there's no way out except death.
Over-medication should be the FIRST suspect for dementia or aberrant behavior in ANY person of ANY age receiving prescription medications. Unfortunately, even the title of this article attempts to cloud the issue; it seems to imply that medications are being overused in TREATING dementia, when in fact the medications themselves are CAUSING the dementia.
I am appalled at the number of drugs some of our youngest and oldest citizens are prescribed - many of which are prescribed to treat a side effect from yet another drug. Only aggressive advocacy and intervention from family members will save most of the victims of over-medication, and unfortunately, most family members are unable, afraid or too trusting to question prescription after prescription for their loved ones. This dooms the recipient of these unnecessary meds to an vicious cycle of side effects and new meds...