Are there any medications that will help my mother with Alzheimer's sleep longer?

3 answers | Last updated: Sep 24, 2016
Mom inlaw concerned asked...

My husband and I are primary caregivers for my mother in law. She never naps during the day and hardly sleeps a 7 hr nite. We do not give her caffeine Drinks and because she's "active" we started giving her 2 tylenol PM tablets aroaround 7 30 pm. That doesn't help much. Does anyone have a to on a Med that we could talk to doctor about? We are tired of getting up at 5 am! ! She is usually asking if someone has fixed dinner :)


Expert Answers

Sleep and sleeping medications: There are several newer medications on the market that have been shown to be safe and effective in older adults. These medications are eszopiclone (Lunesta), ramelteon (Rozerem), zaleplon (Sonata), zolpidem (Ambien) and zolpidem MR (Ambien CR). A National Institute of Health (NIH) conference on insomnia supported these recommendations. The older ones were typically lower doses of antidepressant medications, such as amitriptyline and trazodone. Here is an article that reviews sleep disorders in the older adult: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2842167/?tool=pubmed

Please try not to give your mother-in-law Tylenol PM, especially higher doses of it. It has a combination of Tylenol (acetaminophen), which in high doses (>2000mg/day) can hurt her liver and Benadryl (diphenhydramine), which is on the list of medications to avoid in elderly (see link to Beers list: https://www.dcri.org/trial-participation/the-beers-list). This resource is from Duke Clinical Research Institute. Another resource is: http://www.tahsa.org/files/DDF/medbeer1.pdf.


Community Answers

Mom inlaw concerned answered...

Thank-you so much for taking the time to give me information. We will talk to her doctor.


A fellow caregiver answered...

You're welcome. I hope she's able to sleep well soon.