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Alzheimer's Disease

Reducing and Stopping Medications

02/08/2001

Question:

We are curious about stopping aricept. Is there a website where we could see how stopping aricept has affected people?

Answer:

Thank you very much for sending us your question. We hope the information presented here will be of help to you. Dr. David Geldmacher, who is part of a team at the University Alzheimer Center, has responded. `I don`t expect that a web site will be able to answer your question. The reason: each person responds to donepezil (Aricept) a little differently. If the donepezil is benefiting the treated person, the most common reactions to stopping the medicine are a rapid worsening of language skills, memory/repetitiveness, and/or daily functional ability. These changes are usually evident within the first week or two. If this happens, the person should generally resume treatment and contact the prescribing clinician. However, if the donepezil has `run its course` and is no longer providing meaningful benefit to the treated person, then stopping it will have no observable effect. There is no useful way to predict who will show this drug withdrawal decline and who will not. Contrary to popular opinion, the duration of treatment is not a good predictor of how an individual will respond to discontinuation. The most common misperception is that these medicines `only work for six months` or `a year.` There is data that some people continue to show a relative benefit for as long as three years.` If you have any further questions, please don`t hesitate to contact us again.

Related Resources:

University Alzheimer 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

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