Slowing Down Disease Progression
Presently, there is no cure for dementia. There are, however, drugs that may help improve mental function, mood or behaviour and slow down the symptomatic progression of the disease.
Although slight improvements or stabilisation of symptoms can at times be seen, these ultimately do not put a stop to the disease or restore mental health.
Consult Your Doctor
All medications have side effects. Consult your doctor or pharmacist on what they are. Do not make adjustments to your loved one’s medication routine without seeking medical advice first. Read about the medications used to relieve some symptoms of dementia here.
- Help maintain mental function
- Primarily to treat mild to moderate stages of the disease although there is also evidence of effectiveness in advanced dementia
- Treat moderate to advanced stages of the disease
- Alternative if patients cannot tolerate Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors
- Can be used on its own or in combination with Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors
Antipsychotics, Antidepressants, Mood Stabilisers and Sedatives
- Used to treat various challenging and disruptive behaviours such as anxiety, aggression, agitation and sleep problems
Tips On Medication Management
Here are some tips about medication management in persons living with dementia. Do not hesitate to consult your pharmacist for more information.
If your loved one forgets to take his or her medication, administer it as soon as you can. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume at the next dose. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed dose. Take note of missed or irregular doses and share it with the medical team looking after your loved one.
Inform the doctor and pharmacist if your loved one is taking any other chronic medication, herbal preparations, supplements or nutritional products, as these may interact with his or her medications. There needs to be transparency between you and the doctor to avoid conflicts in medications.
Use a timetable to take note of when your loved one has to take his or her medication. This will be especially helpful if your loved one has a lot of medications, and when the main caregiver has to pass on caregiving duties to other family members during times of respite or overseas travel.
As a caregiver, it is important for you to be aware of possible side effects of medication and to look out for them. Your loved one may have difficulty finding the words to alert you to any side effects he or she is going through.
Take note of medications that may cause drowsiness, as this may increase the risk of falling, especially in elderly patients.
Be attentive to special storage instructions. It is important to store medication in a cool and dry place, away from direct light and heat. Some medication may require refrigerated storage conditions.
Administer medication as per the doctor’s instruction. Do not stop any medication without first consulting the doctor or pharmacist.
Here are more resources about dementia
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