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Elderly mother on zyprexa

My mother lives in an assisted living and has parkinson disease dementia.  On the advice of the assisted living facility, she is now in a geriatric behavorial hospital to evaluate her medications and has been there one night.  During my visit today I saw that a new medication was administered.  It is Zyprexa.  I came home and read about it on the internet and am very concerned that she is getting this med.  What I read is that it isn't to be given to the elderly who have dementia, anyone with difficulty swallowing, which she has and parkinson's.  Should I be concerned?
3 Responses
547368 tn?1440545385
Hello Martha,

Welcome to the Senior Health Forum. Your mother is fortunate to have your concern and involvement in her medical care.

In my personal opinion your concern is justified . If it were my mother I would want a lot of other options pursued before I would consent to Zyprexa or a similar antipsychotic medication therapy. This antipsychotic medication is being used off label if your mother's diagnosis is dementia. It is more often prescribed for patients with bi-polar and schizophrenic diseases. The off label use (means no studies or approval has issued for this use) is questionable in our elderly demented patients. It has not been approved to treat dementia or dementia-related psychosis.

Is your mom being seen by a geriatric physciatrist? If not I would request that she be evaluated by that speciality. If one is not available than a good gerontologist may be beneficial. I know that physicians are often at a lose for behavior medications in our elderly. But there are other options.

Indeed it could be a combination of her medications that are actually causing the behavioral issues. Another factor that can precipitate behavior issues in the geriatric population is an over looked illness. Even your basic garden variety UTI can upset their mental and emotional balance. Their systems are so fragile. I hope that all medical possibilities have been ruled out.

Of course how much you can actually dictate or control depends on your mother's legal status. If she is her own guardian you will have little say so into her heath care. If you or a family member are her POA for Health Care then at the least I would certainly start asking questions asap.

Please let us know how your mom is doing. I can relate to your concern and the feeling of helplessness that often coincides with it. I will look forward to your updates.

I Wish the Best for You and Your Mom,
~Tuck
144586 tn?1284669764
Zyprexia is used by the nursing facility as a "chemical straitjacket" to substitute for professional nursing care.

It is absolutely positively inappropriate.

For an admitting psychiatrist to administer such a medication the first day is unconscionable.

My goodness, they never, even got a chance to observe her!

For starters it makes it impossible to properly evaluate her. With Parkinsons often comes Lewy's body dementia, which is characterized by periods of lucidity during the day, and periods of dementia. They can be reasonably weel in the morning and see shape-shifters in the afternoon. With Zyprexia you get a zombie 24/7. And there is a high mortality associated with Zyprexia for reasons that are unclear.

Zombies make fewer demands on the nursing staff.

Secondly, one cannot assume the dementia is due to the Parkinsons. It could be Alzheimer's or multi-infarct dementia. Or even nutritional dementia.

What you can do about this is something else.

Finding another geriatric facility would be a good start.

Notify them in writing, certified mail, that you are not a happy camper.
Avatar universal
My mother was quite paranoid for a number of years, meeting all the criteria to be diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder.  She threatened to kill my father, and he moved out but continued to check on her and help her out with the house and making sure she had what she needed daily.  Her paranoia morphed into Alzheimer's disease, confirmed by a very good neurologist.  A psychiatrist with a great deal of geriatric experience prescribed Zyprexa.  It worked wonders.  Without it, she would have been unable to be cared for at home and would have had a greatly lessened quality of life.  She was not sedated at all, regained her sense of humor and enjoyed life fore several more years before the dementia took her.  Alzheimer's is a 24 hour a day nightmare for the caregivers. Most medical professionals don't "get it".   I wish you all the best with your mom.
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