Dementia: The Drugs Don’t Work

There is no treatment for  Maureen’s condition – vascular dementia.  The medication that she has been prescribed for the last three years has been aimed at preventing a further stroke: lisinopril to control her blood pressure and rivaroxaban to thin her blood.

Last week following an assessment by a Specialist Doctor Maureen was also prescribed trazodone to address raised levels of anxiety and hallucinations.  Because she is highly sensitive to any form of medication she was prescribed the lowest possible dose.  I have been informed that she would need to be monitored very closely in case she had an adverse reaction to this new medication.

Maureen has been refusing any medication for months – never taking it on a regular basis. Therefore, I have not even offered her any tablets for the last few weeks.  In that time her blood pressure has been monitored and been at an acceptable level.   It has been a blessing to avoid the daily battle of attempting to persuade her to take tablets.

Following a meeting with Maureen’s GP last week I have agreed to try to get her to take her blood thinner once again.  The early signs are positive as she is cooperating at the moment without undue pressure from me.   I have agreed to review progress with her GP early next week and to leave a small bottle of trazodone unopened.

In my view, Maureen does not need the latest medication that has been prescribed by the Specialist Doctor. – it is an antidepressant and may well be being prescribed off label! I have checked it out in a number of quarters and I don’t like the sound of it at all – particularly as it is primarily a sedative.

When the SD was here I made it clear what I thought was causing changes in Maureen presentation: her environment -being deserted by her family and living on a Building Site.  I have already done something about the former with family visits now scheduled for the next three weeks.  The latter will be resolved within five weeks when the Building Site blossoms into a Sun Room.

We know that the drugs don’t work for vascular dementia: we also know that medication cannot resolve loneliness or living on a Building Site!

The other treatment that doesn’t work for Maureen is a time in a Care Home.  All Respite Breaks have had a negative impact on her well~being.  Therefore, the only Care Home she will stay in from now on is our own home.  Any person-centred approach to Maureen’s care would understand that separating her from her husband would make no sense to her and remind her of bad experiences in her previous marriage.

It is fortunate that during my last break I was able to meet with Irving Kirsch and Tom Schuller: two academics who continue to have a significant impact on our lives.  If I hadn’t read Irving’s book I would have believed the ‘chemical imbalance myth’ about depression and been on antidepressants for life.  Without Tom’s support during my time at Warwick University, I wouldn’t have a Masters Degree in Lifelong Learning and the Management of Change and developed skills that are vital in my role as a Care Partner.

A few weeks ago Maureen paid a high price for my trip to London to meet Irving and Tom – 5 days and nights in a Care Home – but she would have wanted me to thank two men who continue to have such a positive impact on our lives!

(I’m seated in the photo above: with Tom in the middle, and Irving on the right.)

As there have been some really positive developments over the weekend I’m posting what is a sort of Working Position on The PC Protocol for Dementia this evening.  This is not an approach written in stone apart from the two basic principles that I have outlined above:  NO MORE DRUGS or CARE HOMES!

My Monday morning post will outline what has been a really positive weekend!


6 thoughts on “Dementia: The Drugs Don’t Work

  1. good choice on the trazodone – re: perhaps not giving it at all. i just finished researching it – not a pleasant choice for any kind of treatment

    blessings to both of you


  2. The first case study is the effective treatment of my husband’s vascular dementia is proof that vascular dementia is treatable. Please take a moment to read these articles on achieving containment and remission of Alzheimer’s and dementia:



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