My dad is on it along with aricept for memory. I don't know if it is really helping his short term memory or not. He still can't remember much. He had a hemorrahagic stroke on 5/10/06. Resulted in very bad short term memory and left side paralysis. How bad is her short term memory? We haven't seen any side effects from him taking this drug.
Thanks for writing. Kathy's short term memory seems to be fairly selective in what she forgets or remembers. Appointment dates...she can remember that she has one but will get confused or forget the time or date. The day of the week consistently. Where she left something is a big problem. Or some task she was doing when she was interrupted such as cooking on the stove and someone calls. But then she can remember details of a conversation with someone to the "T" if that's what she was tuned in to.
From what I've read about Namenda today, I am holding some hope based on how it works. It's a little bit of a longshot but worth a try. The one thing we need to keep an eye on is the dosage level and have the doc make adjustments as needed. How many mg's is your Dad on? They say to start at 5 mg once a day then adjust up to find the optimal effect on cognition and function. Then if she becomes confused or declines in function to reduce.
Kathy had her hemorrhagic stroke a year and 1 week ago and we feel she is doing amazingly well considering all she has been through. Her bleed was on the right side, as I guess your Dad's was, and resulted in a "tennis ball" sized clot. Through good therapy at Skaggs Hospital Branson (highly recommend) she has achieved limited use of her left leg and arm. Now it's an ongoing battle with the insurance company for continuing therapy she so badly needs. The doc is going to try Botox injections in a few strategic spots to maybe relieve muscle tone or tightness (again, if insurance doesn't think they are smarter than the docs). That may help her walk better if it helps her foot-drop.
Hi - My mother had been taking Namenda for a few years because she had Alzheimer's.
2 months ago she suffered a severe parieto-occipital hemorrage (on right side). I had read about Ritalin as a possible awareness medication for stroke victims. I talked to the neurologist about it, and he has used it in the past. She has been on a tiny dose of Ritalin for about 2 days now.
Your physician has your patient on three medications that interfere with memory and cognitive function, and then wants to suggest Namenda? The three meds prescribed are "chemical straightjackets", used in nursing homes to make patients more "managable". And this is a "neuro" specialist prescribing psychiatric medications. I would question the need for any of these meds, let alone all three of them. Yes, it is true that the patient will be more agitated. Holding and hugging and kissing often take care of this problem. Perhaps not. I would look long and hard at the reasons for prescribing these three medications.
Update...Namenda was not the answer, in our case anyway, and the meds were stopped by the patient. She refused to take them any more after she experienced confusion and "racing thoughts" overwhelmed her. May have been too high of a dose or could have been the combination of other meds or maybe it was never a good choice of meds to begin with. She is doing much better though...on her own. Lots of rest and constant support through hugs and encouragement have done much more, along with her very strong will. She is wanting to cut back on some of the other meds and we really wonder if maybe she's right. Possibly just stick with an anti-siezure?
I am a survivor of hemorrhagic stroke (09/14/2005) .. I have been prescribed Namenda and Aricept for cognitive functioning, sequencing and memory problems. In each case these two meds resulted in VERY DRAMATIC IMPROVEMENT for me. Unfortunately, since I am not diagnosed with Alzheimers, my insurance refused to pay for these two very good medications. So ... I have learned to live without them ... In any case, my deficits are severe enough to have permanently disabled me.
A Caveat: I would really be careful (Caregiver222) about making medical determinations, judgments, or observations anywhere on the Internet. Many, many stroke survivors suffer from memory and focus issues and these two meds really help; they are not chemical straightjackets. That is being really overly dramatic!
Brain2005 (aka WALTER)
brain2005, I'm glad to hear that those type of meds are working. If I may ask, what dosage level has worked for you on the Namenda? The info I checked out from the manufacturer said something about paying close attention to finding the optimal dose for each individual and reduce to a lower level if problems arose. I don't think we had problems until the dosage level reached 20 mg / day. Did you go through some adjustments in dosage?
ps. I think the "chemical straightjackets" caregiver222 was referring to were the other meds in addition to the Namenda. I may be wrong..???
This may sound silly at first but remember my memory is bad. I do not recall what the dosages were on Namenda or Aricept. They worked fine with no side-effects. I was definitely sharper than before the medications. Before my stroke, I had a mind like a "steel trap," and was at the top of my game as far as professionally. (Personnel Specialist) ... but now I have lost that. I am still very, very thankful to be alive at all. Many hemorrhagic stroke victims do not survive. No problem about Caregiver222; I am just real skeptical of anyone giving "medical" advice unless they are doctors.
Walter, It doesn't sound silly at all about your memory. Kathy shares with me more than anyone about her memory problems. Her memory loss has been the source of most of her depression. She says it's like she lost pieces of her life. And when she asks for help clarifying some things, some people close to her have not been able to understand. Because she is on top of everything else mentally, it's hard for some to believe she can't remember certain things. The other side of the coin is that once she shares her problem, people will question her ability to remember anything which compounds the problem by creating self doubt. When she knows she's right, she usually is. Kathy is a lot like you Walter. She was on top of her world and ran a very successful one person business for 20 years. A few of us have kept it going for her and she is slowly but surely working her way back in her business. Getting back to what she once knew has been the best therapy. We are there as the worker bee's and to pick up the slack here and there. But she directs the show. The more she does, the more she excercises her memory skills and it becomes less of a deficit every day. It's a very slow, slow process but definitely worth the effort for all of us. We came so close to losing her and we are grateful for each and every minute now. It's a daily process through mental and physical therapy that we build her confidence on, one tiny step at a time. And we genuinely CELEBRATE!
Thank You! It does sound like you know and can appreciate the problems with getting some memory capacity back following a stroke of the kind I suffered and I guess Kathy did too. So many people, especially of my generation (the Boomers) are now approaching mature (old) age and they all have their "senior moments." I wish that was all there was to this ... This sort of memory loss and these sequencing failures are really difficult to understand unless you have to live with them every day. So .. again, I thank you for your compassion and understanding. Kathy is indeed fortunate to have people like you in her life. Yes, CELEBRATE BEING ALIVE!
The only medication I have found for improving cognitive function is cerebrolysin.
I'm unsure how this would compare
Here is some basic information on it:
"...Cerebrolysin is a protein-based agent that exhibits unique neurotrophic (assisting growth) and neuroprotective activity. It has been studied in thousands of patients in double-blind studies with consistently excellent results. Some of the effects include:
1. Protects nerve cells from damage
2. Decreases damage from excitotoxic effects
3. Blocks over activity of calcium dependent proteases (this reduces spasm)
4. It scavenges free Oxygen radicals
5. It increases nerve viability and survival during and after ischemic events (lack of oxygen)
6. Slows progressive global and cognitive decline (helps prevent mental decline)
As these effects are widespread, Cerebrolysin can be used for a large number of conditions. These include:
1. Any organic, neurologic, and degenerative disorders of the brain
2. Alzheimer’s and dementia
3. Neurological trauma of any type
4. Any conditions with low oxygen as a component
Cerebrolysin can be used either for acute stroke or later for rehabilitation. When used for dementia/Alzheimer’s, it is able to stop the progression of the disease and also improve the current symptoms. Cerebrolysin is given via intravenous infusion, unless a very small dose is used. It is administered one time per day, five times per week, for a total of 20 treatments. The treatment is then stopped for 4 weeks, after which the cycle can repeat as often as needed.
No safety concerns were noted during clinical trials. Side effects were rare, and at the same frequency in groups getting the active agent or the placebo. The most common events were vertigo, agitation, and feeling hot, all of which were mild and short-lived.
In summary, Cerebrolysin is a safe, effective therapy that can be used for nearly any problem involving the brain..."
SOURCE : www.drhealth.net
There is also an EXCELLENT write up on it's application for stroke which includes many clinical studies:
Cerebrolysin: in pre-clinical trials per http://www.alzforum.org/drg/drc/detail.asp?id=39
Hi Tessie, Thanks for this information. It looks like this med is in clinical trials.
Do you know if it is routinely available through doctors yet? It seems to be an injectable medication. Thanks for getting back to us.
WALTER (aka brain2005)