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Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer`s and Risperdal

06/02/2009

Question:

Hi, My 83 year old mother has Alzheimer`s and we have tried different things to control her behavioral problems. It`s been about 2 months now and it seems like the medication is not working as well. She is on 1/2 mg 2 times a day. With that we still have to give her Xanax so she will sleep at night which is 1/2 mg at night. Is it possible that she is becoming immuned to the Risperdal? Or is the disease progressing and she may need higher doses?

Answer:

There are many alternative medications to Risperidal and Xanax. Some patients work well with them and other do not. Ask her doctor for other possible medication trials to help with her specific behavior issues. Xanax can be addictive and build up a tolerance so that a lower dose may no longer work as well. Risperidal does not have those properties. Trazodone is often used for sleep disturbance and is very safe for most patients. Higher doses of Risperidal can cause stiffness and gait changes in some. The disease may be progressing as well.

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Response by:

Douglas W Scharre, MD Douglas W Scharre, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology
Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University