Do Alzheimer's patients typically take depression medication?

2 answers | Last updated: Mar 28, 2016
Miyaspot asked...

Do Alzheimer's patients typically take depression medication?

Expert Answers

Paula Spencer Scott, contributing editor, is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's. A Met Life Foundation Journalists in Aging fellow, she writes extensively about health and caregiving; four of her family members have had dementia.

No, antidepressants are not routinely given to people who have Alzheimer's. This would be done only if the person were also diagnosed with depression. It's true, though, that depression rates are higher among people with Alzheimer's (estimates range from two in five people with Alzheimer's, or up to 50 percent).  It's tricky to diagnose depression with Alzheimer's, however, since the symptoms are similar, such as withdrawal, memory impairment, changes in concentration, and changes in sleep or diet (sleeping or eating more, or less, than usual). Older people can have more side effects or drug interactions, so adding a new medication for depression is usually done cautiously and then is carefully monitored. Other depression relievers for people with Alzheimer's can include morning exercise, social involvement, and talk therapy (especially early in the disease process).

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Community Answers

Lclt answered...

Unless diagnosed with depression before alzheimers.