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Alzheimer's Disease

Effect of Multiple Drugs with Alzheimer's

02/14/2003

Question:

What lasting effect would drugs Dilantin, Digoxin, Zantac, Xanax, an aspirin regimen,and multivitamins in addition to Aricept have on a patient with Alzheimer's if all of them are given at the same time.

Answer:

It is not uncommon to use the drugs you listed to treat co-existing chronic medical problems in someone with dementia. Drugs such as Digoxin and Dilantin need to be monitored by the physician as well as by getting periodic blood work. The physician checks to see that the disease is responding to the medication, that symptoms are under better control, and that one drug is not adversely interacting with another. Too much of these drugs may cause toxicity and too little may not be effective, so regular follow-up with a health care provider is essential. The same is true of Xanax, although the optimal dose is broadly determined by the patient`s response to the drug. Aricept does not interact with any of the medications you mentioned, but beyond that they can all interact with each other. Any drug, even those that you buy without a prescription, has the potential to cause unwanted side-effects. People vary in their response to medications so its really impossible to predict how any particular individual will respond to one, let alone multiple medications, and this is why they need to be monitored by their medical provider. 

Related Resources:

University Memory and Aging Center

For more information:

Go to the Alzheimer's Disease health topic, where you can:

Response by:

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

Wendy Lemere, MSN, RN, CS
Formerly
Case Western Reserve University