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Alzheimer's Disease

Medicating Multi-infarct Dementia with Aricept



My mother was diagnosed with multi-infarct dementia a year ago. She probably had her first stroke 5 years previous to this. Do you think that Aricept could help her? I am concerned about the side affects as she is over weight and sleeps a lot. Would it just be prolonging the inevitable? When she comes off aricept, will she be at the stage she would have been if she had not taken it (so instead of the decline being gradual it would be sudden)? Any thoughts?


Hi, Thank you for your question. Dr. Geldmacher from the University Alzheimer Center has answered. "There are no major studies evaluating Aricept in multi-infarct dementia,so we do not know how well it might work. Most multi-infarct dementia has concomitant AD as well. The only way to know if it will help is to try it. The only way to tell if she will be one of the people with side effects is to try it. Most people tolerate Aricept with little or no difficulty in the long term. The purpose of Aricept and related therapies is to maintain or sustain function as high as possible, for as long as possible. So yes, you are correct that if nothing else changes she would eventually reach the same point, on or off treatment. However, not everyone dies from dementia. People with dementia get other age related problems, too. In her case, more strokes and heart disease are much greater risks to her longevity than dementia would be. By not treating her now, you might be depriving her of quality of life that she could enjoy now, in hopes of avoiding a future which may or may not come. Recommendation: Try the medicine. See how she does. Then, make a longer term decision based on your actual observations rather than our, or any one else`s, best guesses. Thanks again for sending us your question. If you need more information or have other questions, please let us know.

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Response by:

Paula K Ogrocki, PhD Paula K Ogrocki, PhD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University

David   Geldmacher, MD David Geldmacher, MD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Neurology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University