There are some medicines, such as sleep aids, anti-anxiety drugs, anticonvulsants, and antipsychotics, that a person with Alzheimer’s disease should take only:
- After the doctor has explained all the risks and side effects of the medicine
- After other, safer non-medication options have not helped treat the problem
You will need to watch closely for side effects from these medications.
Sleep aids are used to help people get to sleep and stay asleep. People with Alzheimer’s disease should NOT use these drugs regularly because they make the person more confused and more likely to fall. There are lifestyle changes people can make to improve their sleep.
Anti-anxiety drugs are used to treat agitation. These drugs can cause sleepiness, dizziness, falls, and confusion. For this reason, doctors recommend they should only be used for short periods of time.
Anticonvulsants are drugs sometimes used to treat severe aggression. Side effects may cause sleepiness, dizziness, mood swings, and confusion.
Antipsychotics are drugs used to treat paranoia, hallucinations, agitation, and aggression. Side effects of using these drugs can be serious, including increased risk of death in some older people with dementia. They should only be given to people with Alzheimer’s disease when the doctor agrees that the symptoms are severe.