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Reply with quote  #1 

Hi, my Mom was taking Aricept for 2 yrs.after having a stoke, she was doing great .   But four weeks ago she had to be taken off Aricept because she had uncontrollable diarrhea.   Last wk. she begged me to give her back her medicine(Aricept) because she realizes that she is not herself(can't remember things). Sunday I had to take her to the ER because she was giddy, crying, agitated and seemed out of control plus she was running a low grade fever.  At the ER they said she had a UTI and an upper respiratory infection and gave her some antibotics and sent her back to the AL.  She got worse later that night and I had to take her back to the ER and they finally decided to admit her.  The nurses said she would probably come out of it in 12 hrs. after the antibotic started working but today(Tuesday) she is still acting the same. Has anyone else had any experience with discont. Aricept or any problems with behavior like described above with , UTI or URI.?  Thanks for any information u can give me.

billie jo
Reply with quote  #2 

jo, are they sure it is the aricept causing the diarrhea? i would hope that they would continue the aricept until they can get her uti and respitory infection under control. can't they control the diarrhea with amodium ad or something prescription. the problem with withdrawing aricept or numenda is that there is no way to know whether they will get back any lost ground once removed and having it restarted. daisy's son is a psychiatrist and we have talked extensively about this. he is unwilling to take the chance of a downward spiral for her. i know this does not make me an expert, just sharing an opinion of a person in the field. it is such a difficult disease to have any good answers since every case can be so different. sorry i couldn't be more helpful, but if your mom really wants it, it would seem like she should have a say. let us know how it goes, not much concrete data so it is of interest to many here. thanks and i hope your mom is doing better very soon.   gail 

Reply with quote  #3 

Hi, Yes, they tried everything and they were planning on doing a colonoscopy to look for tumors but since she is 91 they hated to so they went over her meds. and the Aricept was the only drug she was taking that had the side effect of diarrhea.  Three days off the Aricept the diarrhea stopped.  They said they would start her on a patch tomorrow...something like Aricept but in patch form(?)  wouldn't bother her stomach.  Thanks for your information...I'm worried about how much she will come back with on this patch..

Reply with quote  #4 
Prayers for your mom Jo. I am dealing with the diarrhea problem as well with my mom. I hope they get her stabilized quickly.
Jane in MA
Reply with quote  #5 
You are not supposed to just stop a med like Aricept (or any serious med.ications) cold turkey. It takes a long time of decreasing the dosage. Please tell me they did not just tell her to stop cold turkey!.

When my miother was given Namenda, which is an Aricept type drug, she was zoned and incoherent. I asked the doctor to stop giving it to her and I was told they would have to do it gradually.. like over the course of a couple of weeks.. even tho she was only on it for a few weeks.

I think the meds given for UTI (antibiotics) can also cause some problems with people who are already frail. My mother  always got 'crazier" whe she had a UTI but it would take a long time for her to get 'less crazy', even as the UTI was under control.

Reply with quote  #6 

Yes, the Aricept was stopped cold turkey and was not tapered off at all. She was in the hospital and they had her on an IV to hydrate her since she was loosing so much with the diarrhea.  I could see the change in her in a week without the Aricept and she could too.  I didn't know about the would think a Dr. would know about that.

Jane in MA
Reply with quote  #7 
I would question him/her about that and tell him that by taking her off, it has made her dementia appear to progress rapidly. Heck.. could they have just prescribed an antidiareah (sp?) medicine like Immodium AD until they foung out what was causing her to have this sudden diarhea (WHY DOESN"T SPELL CHECK WORK HERE??) . After 2 years on Aricept, I would not consider it the problem. There a scores of things that can cause that one symptom.

Have you done any web searching for side effects, etc. Has she possibly got just the good old fashioned stomach flu that can last longer in elderly folks??

I would not mess around. I'd get a second opinion.. even if it was from her own doctor. They are often willing to second guess themselves if you give them as many deatils and support as possible. The elderly are like fragile flowers and they can wilt from too much or not enough of... wind, water, sun, .. . You know what I mean.
Sometimes we have to help the doctors determine what is wrong by explaining in detail our own observations.

Reply with quote  #8 
Hi All,
My mother has been on Aricept for 2 mos and has frequent diarrhea since she went on it. The pharmacist told me it could not be the Aricept or she would have reacted right way with the diarrhea instead of a week later. I'm not sure why she gets it, usually once a week and when she is tired and run down. I'm watching it and it seems to follow lunch time or mid day. ...
I don't know if this will help in any way, but I too suspected the Aricept ... in my mother's case it might be her system getting used to it, or something she ate?

Lynn from Oz
Reply with quote  #9 
Dear Jo,
My mother was on Aricept for 4 years after a stroke but had to stop it as she developed bardycardia (low heart rate ) and kept falling./fainting and breaking bones. She also had bad diarrhea most of the time she was on aricept and once she stopped the diarrhea cleared up.(We didn't intially connect the aricept with the diarrhea-thought it was a side effect of the stroke ) She was told to stop the aricept "cold turkey" and she seemed to have no side effects from this. Her dementia has only become slightly worse indicating she had vascular dementia rather than alzheimers.
I have read here a number of times that UTIs can have a very bad effect on the elderly and makes them very confused.. Others may be able to give more details.
My mum had to take anti-diarrhea medication while on Aricept. It helped to a certain extent but she still had accidents.Her doctor admitted that it is a common side effect of this drug.

Reply with quote  #10 
Thanks for the input on Aricept. I've been suspicious and reading your posts explains a lot. I don't think my mother is telling me how much diarrhea she is having ... I'd read that could be a side effect ... but in talking with her before, it seemed OK.

I think she is soo worried about her memory that she'd want to stay on the medication and might even be denying the problem to herself. A big clue at this point is the amount of toilet paper I'm buying! She has always stock piled it since she is afraid she couldn't get to the store (she can't drive)... I didn't pay enough attention to that-- but will investigate it more today.

Reply with quote  #11 

This just does not make sense to me.  Your mother has been on Aricept for two years.  Then, the doctor decided to immediately take her off of it because diarrhea is a side effect.  I cannot imagine your mother having severe diarrhea for two years and being able to function.

There are so many things that can cause diarrhea.  I doubt if Aricept caused this in the first place, since she has been on it for years. 

This just sounds like less that smart thinking, to put it kindly, on the part of the doctor.  If it were me, I would rather live with some diarrhea, which has not been proven to be the cause of this problem in the first place, than be in the awful state of mind your mother is in now. 

I have also heard that there are other new Alzheimer's meds on the market now that can even help later stage Alzheimer's. 

I sure hope you can get this resolved with the doctor. 
Reply with quote  #12 

Sorry, our posts must have crossed.  I hope there is something to the doctor's ideas about the Aricept causing the problem.  Maybe he can prescribe a different kind of memory pill for her. 
Reply with quote  #13 

Just too let you know that my mom had also been on aricept and that she had diarhea until we took her off of it, it just seems that with my mom those medicines further triggered her alzheimers, so with my mom nothing can help her, and in regards to UTI's, now that is another subject, her mind goes and thinks that we are other people, I have learned with my mom when certain things are going on it is just getting to know what medicines do what, it seems as though we have to be a dr. just to know what the meds do to our elderly, cause sometimes I wonder if our dr.'s do justice with them.
Reply with quote  #14 

Thank you all for your input on this subject.  My Mom is still in the hospital with an upper respiratory infection and finally has resolved the UTI.  The Dr.s think the infections were the reasons why she was acting so strange.  They did try her on Exelon, for her memory, but it caused  severe diarrhea like the Aricept did and now we just have to accept the fact that she can't tolerate these meds.    Thanks again for the info. 

Reply with quote  #15 
My dad was on Aricept for 5 months.
During this time he had every day abouts of blowing
diarrhea. He was on several other medications, so
I did not know which one was causing the
diarrhea. After researching each drug and
reading patient reviews the common denominator
was Aricept.

I requested the Aricept be discontinued. The next
day the diarrhea was gone. He stayed diarrhea free
for two weeks, and then it was back. When requesting
copies of my father's medications (again) I noticed
they added a new medication 'Donepezil' when
researching this med. I found that it was generic
for 'Aricept'. Now we know for sure it was the Aricept.

What I have learned from this experience is that you
are your parents only advocate. My father would
still be having blowing diarrhea & losing weight
if I had not intervened.
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