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Can Aricept cause nastiness?

33 answers | Last updated: Jul 19, 2015
Bet1 asked...

Why would my husband seem to act worse while taking Aricept 5 MG? He's only been on it for four days and he seems to be getting nasty.


Ladislav Volicer, M.D., Ph.D., is recognized as an international expert on advanced dementia care. He is a courtesy full professor at the School of...
48% helpful

I am sorry that you feel that Aricept is not helping your husband. I do not know at which stage of dementia your husband is, but sometimes Aricept causes problems in people who've just stopped realizing that they are sick. Because Aricept is improving their cognitive function, they start recognizing their disease again and may get angry about that.

Of course, it is possible that your husband is getting nasty for other reasons. Make sure that he is not developing some other disease, such as urinary tract infection, and just feels uncomfortable.


More Answers
70% helpful
RayJ answered...

My Wife went nuts while on Aricept. Absolutely went gonzo. Uncontrolled anxiety attacks, anger. I pulled her off after 3 weeks and flushed the stuff.


86% helpful
lmartin answered...

My dad lost 30 lbs while on Aricept. He would be fine for a few days and then lose everything he ate for the next 3 or 4. He refused to eat after awhile. We tossed it pretty quickly.


80% helpful
SallyC answered...

My mother and her sister both tried Aricept for increasing dementia, and they got very anti-social (not their normal personality) and negative and tired. Both are better off without it - not less dementia, but happier days and sense of humor came back. And once you're past 90 (maybe earlier), having happy days is a very good thing.


80% helpful
frauh answered...

My dad also became very "nasty" as you put it. We were not certain it was the Aricept, but once I began reading about the potential side-effects, combativeness being one of them, we asked him to be taken off of it. Sadly, it was too late in his life. Wish we had known more many months before. We all may have found his last months more pleasant. Another side: Seroquel caused a bleeding disorder in my dad, perhaps because it was prescribed with blood thinners. It is also something to avoid.


Snowbirds answered...

my mom is on it and it helped her. She was so nasty before she was put on it. Yes she can have bad days but good days outweighs the bad days. she needs to be one it. Without it I don't think anyone could take of her. She is in an assistant living home now and hopefully she will be there until she passes. If she gets real bad, she will end up back in Nursing home. She is an hermit but she was before. Here she has done more with her life than she was before. Is it making her nasty. I say no as she was totally nasty before she was one it. Very hard headed person.


75% helpful
AnneGa answered...

The Dr. insisted my husband take Aricept.I am glad that I am not the only one that has seen the results of this medicine. I for one wish they would ban it. My husband 6foot 3 fell to his knees begging what is wrong, please help me, Honey you have to help me.I have never let them give him anything else but low dose xanex if needed. I am blessed he is a very calm person and remains so. If you give your loved one this medication make sure you watch for and know the side effects they don't understand what is happening.Hugs to all caretakers. Anne


38% helpful
debrahelper answered...

I have seen more alzheimer's patients get combative with out meds and I have seen aricept do wonderful things, for some alzheimer pt. I'm not a doctor, but I am a hands on caregiver I have seen some really angry pt that just can't figure out why they are so angry. I have seen the best and the worst on some of these drugs over the years and as for my loved ones I will try anything once. Right now they are not on anything and seem to be doing very well (as to be expected) except for something to help their sleep.


71% helpful
RayJ answered...

Well based on the replies to this page they should ban this stuff. The other bad thing is that the Dr who wrote this Rx was so high on it and we actually had hope. There is nothing worse in this situation than being given a ray of hope only to see it crash and burn immediately ! We have now seen three Neurologist and all of them are homers for Aricept. I waste little time setting them straight.


83% helpful
frauh answered...

So it is apparent that there are both benefits and lousy side-effects to Aricept. It is very important that the physcians discuss these with the caregivers, so that each case can be monitored individually. Unfortunately that doesn't always happen, which is why patients and caregivers must be vigilant in their own research.


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abbygpt answered...

My wife's sister lives with us, and was diagnosed with frontal temporal demensia a couple of years ago (at age 50). We put her on Aricept to try to help her retrieve/increase her cognitive abilities -- she was a very intelligent woman. As others have written, her awareness was increased, but her normally pleasant personality and sense of humor totally disappeared. This took about 1 - 2 weeks. She became an emotional wreck (lots of tearful episodes) and snapped at everyone. We could tell that she was miserable, and we were certainly miserable, but felt great anxiety at stopping the medication, since it did seem to take her back at least a year in the disease progression. We finally did take her off after about 4 weeks and many discussions with both her doctors, our doctors, and some close friends. She returned to her pre-Aricept self after about a week. Thank goodness for folks who consider the caregivers and their predicaments in their analyses.


75% helpful
jpreaves answered...

I think I am hearing a lot of folks that have loved ones who were not diagnosed until late in life. I know that is true down here in Florida.

My wife was diagnosed at the age of 56 with Early Stage Alzheimer's disease....through a good Memory Clinic. She was put on Aricept immediately but in less than a month switched to Namenda. However, the reason was a rather simple side effect she wasn't comfortable with. Namenda on the otherhand seemed to work well and has brought her down to the present at 61 years of age....almost six years. A year ago I read about Exelon Patch and asked my doctor if he thought it would be alright to put the patch on her. We were told from the beginning that all these medications would do was prolong the Early Stage, but countered with they should continue taking them as long as they live.

I personally believe that the disease seems to follow the personality of the patient.....though I have heard stories to the contrary. My wife is just about ready to go into the final stage and the doctor feels she won't last a year. I think he is not God....we'll see.



33% helpful
RayJ answered...

My wife was 55 when diagnosed. I would like to send all this feedback to the makers of Aricept! Terrible results on Aricept. the only Rx that works on the wife is the Exelon patch.


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hopeful always answered...

I am 43yrs. old and have dementia and have encephalopathy and I wished I could afford Aricept because I tried it for one month free trial from my doctor and it seemed to help me stay a little focased. I do get confused and irritable too when I mess up on the most simple things that were easy for me to do. I have been without dementia care from my doctor and haven't been back to him because I felt upset because when I asked what encephalopathy was and tell me more about my condition he just rushed me along and told me that I wouldn't understand what he was telling me. I feel like he didn't like me or patronized me. Maybe I am wrong but it is hard when you forget important things like reordering my medication on time or missing it for a whole month and sometimes wondering why I feel a lot of pain and some of it is because I forget to take my medication. There is the fact that I can't ignore and that is forgetting to turn off the stove and the stove cover burned along with a pot holder and we had a burning throat thanks to me forgetting to turn off the stove or leaving the oven on all night long. I also have a sleep disorder and not too long ago I had woke up from a dream to see a white figure of a person at my bed side with their hand reaching out to me for comfort after a bad dream. Another time was seeing a man in a suite and hat on at our bedroom door watching us and then he went away when I saw him and I finally told my doctor that for it was those only two times that I have seen someone that I know cuoudlnt' have veen there. My doctor is going to order a cat scan because my head feels of alot of pressure and migraines everyday and when laying down my head hurts more and is pounding. My husband is very loving even though sometimes it is chalening when I forget things or lose stuff. I wished every one the best and to stand by your loved ones and know that God does love us and there for us too. hopeful always


manito7o7 answered...

My mother is 57 and is on aricept. We went to the doctor yesterday because my dad wanted to try and see if an increase in mg dosage would help my mom. I haven't really noticed a difference of pre-aricept and post-aricept behaviors. Overall I think the meds help. Although, she does sometimes abruptly become angry, starts yelling at the window, and tries to get out of the house. I thought that these behaviors are a part of her degeneration and constant/ continuing frustration. Thanks for posting this. I'm going to see if the increase in dosage will help or not.

Also, she is on medication called Namenda.


100% helpful
Cicago Al answered...

My wife, like many others diagnosed with MCI or AD, was put on a regimen of Aricept, Namenda, and folbic acid. All of these claim they MIGHT slow down the rate of memory loss in SOME individuals for UP TO TWO YEARS, The three words in caps leave infinite wiggle room. My wife was on these for several years, the with the agreement of our primary care physician stopped all of them. I have noticed NO change. In fact, when she was taking them, I noticed no change. This may be because I had no way of knowing where she would be if she had never taken them. I find this to be the fallacy in the Drug company claims - no one knows where anyone would be if the drugs were not taken. The disease affects everyone in a different way, so where their tests show a slowing in some, this may be the normal progression for these individuals.

Also, all drugs to date are based on the "fact" that AD is caused by the formation plaques and tangles in the brain, and are geared towards destroying them. However there are new studies that come up with the alternate theory that plaques are in fact the bodies way of fighting proteins called oligomers, If this is the case, the old drugs may in fact be causing more harm. The truth is no one knows the cause for AD, let alone know what helps or cures it.

Chicago Al


100% helpful

my mom was put on aricept and she became very stubborn and went running out of the house a couple of times (dragging her walker behind her) because she was terified by something that wasnt there. We took her off of arecept. My dad was on namenda and he became violent and he is on blood thinners so the risk was more than the benefit. I could see taking these medicines when you are younger or at earlier stages but to me the side effects outweigh the benefit of delaying a desease that is going to take you away before your time anyway. Sometimes I think that people are being kept alive just because we can do it and not to improve their quality of life.


100% helpful
Linda. answered...

We have to be careful not to generalize. Not all medicines work for all patients. If Aricept does not work in your particular case, don't use it. To take it off the market would mean taking it away from those for whom it works.

Aricept works wonders for my mom. She is 77 and is in Late Moderate Stage AD. Whenever we forget her dose, she cannot retrieve words. We tried Exelon to see if it worked better and it didn't. She couldn't retrieve words. For my mom, Seroquil works wonders as well. Her paranoid delusions have just about stopped. She has no negative side effects from the med.

I don't think Aricept is any different from other medicines like Blood Pressure or Cholesterol medicines. Some works for some patients and others work for others. People stop taking medicines all of the time because of individual side effects.

I say thank goodness for Aricept, Namenda and Seroquil!


threeloves answered...

If your loved one has rough nights, bad dreams, vocalizing the dream or acting out the dreams, it is probably caused by the Aricept. Nights were dangerous when my husband was taking it in the evening. I changed and give it to him in the morning and he sleeps like a baby. Also he has become nasty so maybe it is the Aricept. I will discuss it with his doctor. Thanks for all of the good input.


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mzmoniep answered...

My mother is going to be 90 in March, 2011. She hasn't been diagnosed with Alzheimer's but has had progressively worse dementia that used to be hard to recognize 10 years ago. I am her youngest daughter (I am her primary care-giver my oldest son is next inline. I have 2 brothers who live here in town that take her places and 2 brothers and 1 sister who live in other states. She seems to hate having to rely on me or have me tell her anything. About 5 yrs. ago we as a family, her kids, stopped her from driving, but to her it was me that did it because I had to keep the keys away from her as she was having wreck after wreck(between 5 to 7 cars totaled in 3yrs time). Each time the other driver would say "I'm so sorry I couldn't stop in time…" she thought they were admitting fault. She used to love to cook and was the best cook ever but one day I realized (and at some point so did she) that cooking was also getting to hard and dangerous for her. Around that time the doctor put her on Aricept and Narmenda which seem to cause her to try to do things like cook again. She was like a car trying to start without gas. I stopped giving it to her. Maybe would have worked better for her 10 years earlier... I don't know. However my mother surrounds herself with family pictures that we talk about. It helps her to remember her loved ones better. The other thing that helps her is going to an adult day care center. They learn about things and keep up with the latest by by going on field trips, visitors from Animal Care people, doctors, schools and by reading the paper or watching educational and entertainment films. My mother thrives on riding around town and seeing the things that trigger memories of the past and so she love riding the bus that picks her up from her home and brings her back. She is much easier to get along with each year that passes since she has been going there and made new friends (many of her old friends have passed away).


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Florida47 answered...

My mild-mannered mother was given Aricept and turned into a shrew! She really scared Dad. When she was switched to Namenda, which she still takes, along with an Exelon patch to help with absorption, Mom was back to her gentle self.


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Mary16 answered...

There is so much great input on this topic! It's so hard to know if an AD person's behaviour is due to meds or another phase of the disease. My Aunt was given Aricept and she underwent a dramatic personality transformation. She became combative, a little paranoid, and always fearful for her life. Her doctor, thinking the disease was progressing at a much greater rate, prescribed a psychotropic med or set of. That kept my aunt from overreacting to the symptoms she was experiencing, but she was like a zombie. My uncle decided enough was enough and had her taken off all the Alzheimer's meds with the doctor's reluctance, but guidance. Within a month my aunt was back to her normal sweet disposition.

AS the posts demonstrate, these meds do not work the same for everyone.Some AD patients may be better off without any of those meds, while others derive benefit from them.

This is just me, but if I saw a big change in personality or traits, the first thing I would look at is the medication.

Good luck!


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cats1 answered...

My mama is 83 and has been diagnosed with Alzheimers for about 10yrsand is inlate moderate stage. She is taking Namenda and was prescribed Aricept about a yr ago. She started out with 10mg and increased to 23mg. It has not affected her in a negative way like most of the people above. At first I didn't notice much difference but after about 2months it started making a difference. She started being able to do more things by herself and has gotten more of her sweet, happy personality back. She never has had a mean nasty attitude. So for her I 'd say it is a good medication.


Mrs Fishie answered...

I've noticed very little difference in my husband since taking Aricept. This year our insurance cost has more than doubled. We realy can't afford to pay $97. a month. I don't know what to do. If I were sure it helped, I would manage somehow to keep him taking it.


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JasminNY answered...

My mother has been on Aricept since 2002. I believe that along with Namenda, they keep her functioning fairly well for ten years!!! She also takes 5mg of Zyprexa to manage mood changes, delusions, etc. If you meet her, if will take awhile to realize she suffers from Alzeimer's. Right now, her problem is insommia. She is not sleeping five out of seven nights...


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Starryeyes answered...

My husband has taken both Aricept & Namenda for quite some time (over 2 years) & is only now becoming a little nasty at times. I think it is just how the disease progresses but I'm not sure. Originally, I thought they helped him stay in the moderate stage but who knows! I keep praying to God for a cure.


Concussion answered...

I'm 31 & was put in Aricept for improving my memory following a car accident related concussion. It caused sleeplessness - I wasn't able to sleep more than 5hrs straight. When asleep, I had terrible nightmares. While awake it made me paranoid, jumpy, and even hallucinate a little. It was the only med I was taking. I took myself off after 2.5 weeks.


allymac answered...

My grandfather was put on aricept and it made him anti-social, miserable, anxious, and thin. It destroyed his personality and he degenerated at a rate unlike anything we've seen before. Finally my grandmother took him off it, against her doctor's orders. Immediately within a week, he was smiling again, making jokes, and returning back to his pre-existing habits. I would never recommend this medication to any human. Especially reading that this has happened to other individuals. I think it is NEGLIGENT of a company to supply this as a suitable medication. All it does is make the patient docile, unable to function and pretends that this is due to the 'degenerative behaviour of the disease' BS.


Michael65 answered...

I put my mom on aricept and she's become really angry. She said she hated me for no reason. She's never said that to me. Before the drug she couldn't remember how to do laundry but with a smile. I'm taking her off of it and hoping she goes back to herself.