A Fifth Type Of Medication That Affects Brain Function
Opiate pain medications. Unlike the other drugs mentioned above, opiates are not on the Beers list of medications that older adults should avoid. That said, they do seem to dampen thinking abilities a bit, even in long-term users. As far as I know, opiates are not thought to accelerate long-term cognitive decline.
- Commonly prescribed opiates;include hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, codeine, methadone, hydromorphone, and fentanyl.
- Tramadol is a weaker opiate with;weaker prescribing controls.
- Many geriatricians consider it more problematic than the classic Schedule II opiates listed above, as it interacts with a lot of medications and still affects brain function. Its a dirty drug, as one of my friends likes to say.
Avoid Drugs Unless They Are Really Necessary
Before any of the drugs mentioned on this page are prescribed it is essential to ensure that the person with dementia is physically healthy, comfortable and well cared for.
Whenever possible, the person should be helped to lead an active life, with interesting and stimulating daily activities. Behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia can often result from unreported pain, other illnesses, drug interactions and environmental factors.
It is important to address these factors in the first instance before resorting to medication. By minimising distress and agitation it is usually possible to avoid the use of drugs altogether. If, after trying non-drug treatments, drugs are considered to be necessary remember:
Drugs For Treating Agitation Aggression And Psychotic Symptoms
Antipsychotics are drugs that were originally developed to treat people with schizophrenia. The use of antipsychotics in people with dementia remains controversial and clinical trials are in progress to better determine their effectiveness.
Side-effects can include excessive sedation, dizziness, unsteadiness and symptoms that resemble those of Parkinsons disease . Some antipsychotics are particularly dangerous for people with dementia with Lewy bodies or Parkinsons disease, being very likely to cause severe stiffness. Some studies have suggested that sudden death may be a rare complication of giving older antipsychotics to people with dementia with Lewy bodies or Parkinsons disease. If such a person must be prescribed an antipsychotic, it should be done with the utmost care, under close supervision, and should be monitored regularly.
A new generation of antipsychotics called atypical antipsychotics may be less prone to produce troublesome side-effects. However, while there is some indication that atypical antipsychotics such as risperidone and olanzapine can be beneficial, it is important to balance the potential benefit against possible side effects, which may include increased risk of stroke and death.
Anticonvulsant drugs, such as sodium valproate and carbamazepine, are sometimes also used to reduce aggression and agitation.;
Don’t Miss: What Is A Brain Bleed
No Easy Solutions But Improvement Is Usually Possible
As many of you know, behavior problems are difficult in dementia in large part because there is usually no easy way to fix them.
Many probably too many older adults with Alzheimers and other dementias are being medicated for their behavior problems.
If your family is struggling with behavior problems, I know that reading this article will not quickly solve them.
But I hope this information will enable you to make more informed decisions. This way youll help ensure that any medications are used thoughtfully, in the lowest doses necessary, and in combination with non-drug dementia behavior management approaches.
To learn about non-drug management approaches, I recommend this article: 7 Steps to Managing Difficult Dementia Behaviors
And if you are looking for a memory care facility, try to find out how many of their residents are being medicated for behavior. For people with Alzheimers and other dementias, its best to be cared for by people who dont turn first to chemical restraints such as antipsychotics and benzodiazepines.
What Are The Side Effects Of Effexor
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: skin rash or hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive , more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
- blurred vision, eye pain or redness, seeing halos around lights;
- cough, chest tightness, trouble breathing;
- a seizure ;
- unusual bleeding–nosebleeds, bleeding gums, abnormal vaginal bleeding, any bleeding that will not stop;
- low blood sodium–headache, confusion, problems with thinking or memory, weakness, feeling unsteady; or
- severe nervous system reaction–very stiff muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, feeling like you might pass out.
Seek medical attention right away if you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such as: agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
Common side effects may include:
- headache, dizziness, drowsiness, tiredness;
- increased sweating; or
- sexual problems.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Don’t Miss: What Lobe Of The Brain Controls Hearing
Medications That Block The Effects Of Acetylcholine
Among the best-recognized cognitively dangerous medications are those with anticholinergic properties. This means that the medications block the effect of acetylcholine, an important brain chemical and neurotransmitter that becomes less plentiful in the aging brain. These medications have an impact on brain cells by occupying its receptor molecules, and can help people gain relief from symptoms of insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, or several other medical conditions. Also, many medications valued for their other effects have incidental anticholinergic properties. Among the clinically significant anticholinergic medications are medications such as tolteridine, often used to treat urinary incontinence. In addition, some antidepressants , antipsychotics, cardiac medications, antispasmodics, antivertigo medications, and antiparkinsonian medications have anticholinergic effects.
Unfortunately, the undesired consequences of anticholinergic medications can be serious. Dry mouth, dry eyes, constipation, or urinary retention may occur. The toxic effects of anticholinergic medications on the brain include confusion, memory disturbance, agitation, and even delirium.
Drugs For Treating Anxiety
Anxiety states, accompanied by panic attacks and fearfulness may lead to demands for constant company and reassurance.
Short-lived periods of anxiety, for example in response to a stressful event, may be helped by a group of drugs known as benzodiazepines. Continuous treatment in excess of two to four weeks is not advisable because dependency can occur, making it difficult to stop the medication without withdrawal symptoms.
In addition, benzodiazepines are associated with a range of side-effects that make them particularly problematic for older people and should not be recommended other than for very short term use. Where an individual has used benzodiazepine drugs for a long period prior to the development of dementia withdrawal may be difficult, but the decision about whether to continue their use or to slowly reduce the dose should be addressed with the doctor treating the person with dementia.;
There are many different benzodiazepines, some with a short duration of action, such as lorazepam and oxazepam, and some with longer action, such as chlordiazepoxide and diazepam. All of these drugs may cause excessive sedation, unsteadiness and a tendency to fall, and they may accentuate any confusion and memory deficits that are already present. The long term use of benzodiazepines for neuropsychiatric symptons is not recommended, but they have a limited role in the short term treatment of agitation in people with dementia .
Recommended Reading: Is Memory Loss A Sign Of Depression
Practical Tips On Medications To Manage Difficult Behaviors In Dementia
You may be now wondering just how doctors are supposed to manage medications for difficult dementia behaviors.
Here are the key points that I usually share with families:
- Before resorting to medication: its essential to try to identify what is triggering/worsening the behavior, and its important to try non-drug approaches, including exercise.
- Be sure to consider treating possible pain or constipation, as these are easily overlooked in people with dementia. Geriatricians often try scheduling acetaminophen 2-3 times daily, since people with dementia may not be able to articulate their pain. We also titrate laxatives to aim for a soft bowel movement every 1-2 days.
- No type of medication has been clinically shown to improve behavior for most people with dementia. If you try medication for this purpose, you should be prepared to do some trial-and-error, and its essential to carefully monitor how well the medication is working and what side-effects may be happening.
- Antipsychotics and benzodiazepines work fairly quickly, but most of the time they are working through sedation and chemical restraint. They tend to cloud thinking further. It is important to use the lowest possible dose of these medications.
- Antidepressants take a while to work, but are generally well-tolerated. Geriatricians often try escitalopram or citalopram in people with dementia.
Why The Drugs Affect Your Mind
Both anticholinergics and benzodiazepines affect the activity of neurotransmitterschemical messengers that work in the central nervous systembut the drugs work in slightly different ways.
Anticholinergic drugs block the action of acetylcholine. In the brain, acetylcholine is involved in learning and memory. In the rest of the body, it stimulates the autonomic nervesthose that regulate contractions of blood vessels, airways, and our cardiovascular and digestive systems. The strongest anticholinergic drugs include some antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants, medications to control overactive bladder, and sleeping pills.
Benzodiazepines boost another neurotransmitter’s effectiveness. They make gamma-aminobutyric acid which slows the activity of neurons in the brain-more potent. For that reason, they are used to calm anxiety and help people sleep.
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of Fungus In Brain
Venlafaxine Improves The Cognitive Impairment And Depression
- 1Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada
- 2Department of Neurology, Changhai Hospital, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China
- 3Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
- 4Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada
- 5Department of Psychiatry, The First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, China
- 6Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Drugs For Treating Depression
Symptoms of depression are extremely common in dementia. In the early stages they are usually a reaction to the persons awareness of their diagnosis. In the later stages of the illness, depression may also be the result of reduced chemical transmitter function in the brain. Simple non-drug interventions, such as an activity or exercise programme, can be very helpful. In addition, both types of depression can be treated with antidepressants, but care must be taken to ensure that this is done with the minimum of side-effects.
Antidepressants may be helpful not only in improving persistently low mood but also in controlling the irritability and rapid mood swings that often occur in dementia and following a stroke. Once started, the doctor will usually recommend prescribing antidepressant drugs for a period of at least six months. In order for them to be effective, it is important that they are taken regularly without missing any doses.;Improvement in mood typically takes two to three weeks or more to occur, whereas side-effects may appear within a few days of starting treatment.
Newer antidepressants are preferable as first line treatments for depression in dementia. Drugs such as fluoxetine, paroxetine, fluvoxamine, sertraline, citalopram and escitalopram do not have the side-effects of tricyclics and are well tolerated by older people.
Let Us Handle Your Effexor Lawsuit Compensation Claim
The Effexor injury case attorneys at the Drug Law Center are currently handling antidepressant lawsuits and optimization claims for victims of Effexor and those who have died because of complications when taking the medication. We accept all medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, and wrongful death lawsuits on contingency. This means we postpone payment of our legal services and are paid only after we have successfully resolved your case through a negotiated settlement or through a jury trial award.
Contact us today to schedule a comprehensive, free initial consultation. Speak with one of our competent personal injury attorneys who specializes in cases just like yours. You are under no obligation to move forward with your case and all information and evidence you provide our law firm is always kept confidential. We can provide various legal remedies while protecting your rights to receive financial compensation from any party who caused you harm. This could include the pharmaceutical manufacturer, the distributor, the supplier, the hospital, doctorâs office, or health care provider.
What Is The Effect On The Brain Of Long
- 5 Jan 2012 by elaineatkins
- effexor, depression, bleeding disorder, dementia, anxiety and stress, bruising
Does long-term use of Effexor lead to memory loss, brain damage and/or dementia? I know it inhibits platelet aggregation and leads to bleeding and severe bruising resulting from a very slight impact. As I am aged 66 years, I am concerned that continued use of Effexor may hasten dementia and memory loss.
Added 5 Jan 2012:
Does long-term use of effexor lead to hypertension? I already have severe bruising particularly on hands and wrists from a very slight impact? Bleeding time seems to be increased and these bruises increase in diameter during a couple of hours and take about three weeks to resolve. Can effexor also cause bleeding in the gut?
I just had to say that this has been a wonder drug for me and I love your question! I am 31so years old and it has worked for me very well even tho I also am Bi Polar 1. Thanks I will keep my eye out for a response!
But I feel that damage to the brain, as well as the possibilty of or actual helping to contribute to dementia, are most probably slim. Mind you if a person were to have already shown various symptons such as having short or long term memory loss, venlafaxine would highlight those symptons. All of the above is my point of view and opinion. Best of wishes,pledge
I have been told that withdrawal from effexor is very difficult.
alice lafechealice lafechenarayaseab12cd34+2+1
You May Like: What Part Of The Brain Controls Sleep
Agomelatine Venlafaxine And Running Exercise Effectively Prevent Anxiety
- Sarawut Lapmanee,
Roles Formal analysis, Investigation, Project administration, Writing review & editing
Affiliations Department of Physiology, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand, Center of Calcium and Bone Research , Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand
- Jarinthorn Teerapornpuntakit,
Roles Visualization, Writing review & editing
Affiliations Center of Calcium and Bone Research , Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medical Science, Naresuan University, Phitsanulok, Thailand
- Nateetip Krishnamra,
Roles Resources, Supervision, Writing review & editing
Affiliations Department of Physiology, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand, Center of Calcium and Bone Research , Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand
- Narattaphol Charoenphandhu
Roles Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Project administration, Resources, Supervision, Visualization, Writing original draft, Writing review & editing
Affiliations Department of Physiology, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand, Center of Calcium and Bone Research , Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand, Institute of Molecular Biosciences, Mahidol University, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
Effexor Alternative Names And Slang
Effexor and EffexorXR have been marketed under hundreds of brand names around the world, including these interesting names:
Venlafaxine hydrochloride is the full generic name for Effexor and EffexorXR. Hydrochloride is a kind of chemical binder used in manufacturing this and certain other drugs. Hydrochloride is an acid, like the hydrochloric acid found in the stomach, instrumental in digestion.
Note that Effexor has now been discontinued in the US due to causing excessive nausea, and has been replaced with the time-release version called EffexorXR.
No street or slang names have emerged, as the drug never became popularized as a stand-alone drug for recreational use. However, the drug has been shown up in batches of street drugs like MDMA or ecstasy, that when analyzed did contain random amounts of drugs such as venlafaxine or other prescription drugs.
Recommended Reading: When Does A Fetus Develop A Brain
Types Of Medication For Difficult Behaviors In Dementia
Most medications used to treat difficult behaviors fall into one of the following categories:
1.Antipsychotics. These are medications originally developed to treat schizophrenia and other illnesses featuring psychosis symptoms.
Commonly used drugs: Antipsychotics often used in older adults include:
- For a longer list of antipsychotics drugs, see;this NIH page.
Usual effects:;Most antipsychotics are sedating, and will calm agitation or aggression through these sedating effects. Antipsychotics may also reduce true psychosis symptoms, such as delusions, hallucinations, or paranoid beliefs, but its rare for them to completely correct these in people with dementia.
Risks of use:;The risks of antipsychotics are related to how high the dose is, and include:
- Increased risk of falls
- Increased risk of stroke and of death; this has been estimated as an increased absolute risk of 1-4%
- A risk of side-effects known as extrapyramidal symptoms, which include stiffness and tremor similar to Parkinsons disease, as well as a variety of other muscle coordination problems
- People with Lewy-body dementia or a history of Parkinsonism may be especially sensitive to antipsychotic side-effects; in such people, quetiapine is considered the safest choice
2. Benzodiazepines. This is a category of medication that relaxes people fairly quickly. So these drugs are used for anxiety, for panic attacks, for sedation, and to treat insomnia. They can easily become habit-forming.