risperidone for alzheimer's agitation?
March 31, 2007 9:23 AM   Subscribe

Alzheimer's/Dementia Filter: Anyone have experience with an elderly relative who takes risperidone (risperdal) for agitation and anxiety during the night? My dad (with Alzheimer's) was put on half a milligram per day, starting tonight. Just wondering if you have anecdotal success or failure stories. I know it's used for other mental illnesses, but want to know specifically about the night-time agitation relief with dementia.
posted by nancoix to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
I believe that it has a black box warning against use for dementia related psychosis in the elderly. I'm not a doctor, so I don't know if that applies in your case. I take it for bipolar d/o and it helps me a great deal. (Full disclosure: I work for a company that makes a competing product. In this post, I do not speak for my company, I speak for myself)
posted by SteveTheRed at 9:51 AM on March 31, 2007

Response by poster: I'm aware of the black box warning. But thanks for mentioning.
posted by nancoix at 9:59 AM on March 31, 2007

I was put on Risperdal for something completely different than Alzheimer's; so I'm not going to delve too much into my own experience. But it did knock me out quite efficiently, which I imagine would be effective against agitation and anxiety during the night. I typically passed out one half hour after taking the pill, but I don't remember my dosage and I am a very small person.
posted by Juliet Banana at 2:46 PM on March 31, 2007

Best answer: As a neurologist, I was awfully sorry to learn about this black box warning. The reason is that there is no good alternative medicine to pick. The sleeping medicines like Ambien and benzodiazepines cause confusion that lasts well into the next day; the antihistamines like Benadryl all have prominent anticholinergic effects that are just absolute hell on people with Alzheimer's disease (confusion, often downright delirium, is the usual result.)

Half a milligram, at night only, is a dose I've used a lot with a lot of success. "Sundowning," which is the phenomenon you're describing, gets people with AD into a lot of trouble - bad behavior, falls, self-injury, being kicked out of their nursing home. So I figure that if I can give a medicine that prevents this, and keep an eye out for potential ill-effects of the medicine, that sometimes the benefits of the medicine can outweigh the risks.
posted by ikkyu2 at 2:58 PM on March 31, 2007

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