A new treatment called "Rember" is twice as effective as Aricept . While the Aricept slightly slowed Alzheimer's progression over 12 months, Rember stopped the progression entirely—even when followed over 18 months! Interestingly, Rember is simply Methylene Blue, an old time natural compound. I remember back in Junior High I was very much the scrawny geek. If a bully came after me, there was no good way to defend myself. I was able to get my revenge though (being a science geek). A little methylene blue slipped into their colas had them peeing a pretty shade of blue—and having a great panicked look! For the really nasty ones, I could get them peeing red as well…
Methylene blue will have an interesting time getting a patent (it is older than I am), but the drug company will probably patent the delivery system. It is worth keeping an eye out for, for use with those with Alzheimer's. Although it will be 4-5 years before the FDA process is completed, so it can be approved for Alzheimer's and available in pharmacies, the optimal dose is 60 mg 3 x day (more is not better) and it can be prescribed by Holistic Physicians and made by compounding pharmacies. For more info on Rember, see Rember for Alzheimer's: Methylene Blue's Comeback. It may cause blue urine, which is normal (it is a blue dye that gets excreted in the urine).
The benefit of Aricept and other medications that raise the brain transmitter acetylcholine (cholinesterase inhibitors ) is minimal, but still reasonable to use. The effect of these drugs was not very large when measured in 13 studies. In one measure of how well the drugs worked, for instance, patients across the studies improved by an average of less than three points on a 70-point scale that tracks mental functioning.
"There is nothing to suggest the effects are less for patients with severe dementia, although there is very little evidence for other than mild to moderate dementia," according to Cochrane review author Jacqueline Birks of the University of Oxford.
Side effects caused about 29 percent of the patients taking the Aricept family drugs to leave the studies, compared with 18 percent dropout among the patients taking a placebo. The most common side effects were nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Although minimally effective compared to the other treatments we discuss in this article, I would add in 5 mg a day of Aricept (not 10 mg, which simply adds costs and side effects with minimal benefit) if you have prescription insurance. I suspect the rest of the treatments discussed above are MUCH more effective, but I'd add the Aricept for now for the additional tiny benefit it adds. For severe Alzheimer's, especially if the person also has chronic pain, a trial of the medication Namenda may have modest benefits (but may also help pain).
That your doctor is not thinking in the terms we discuss in this article simply reflects that almost all the information doctors get comes from the drug companies (e.g., "give Aricept"). I invite you to give this article to your physician. If they are open minded and willing to try (and they can email me with questions on my web site at www.Vitality101.com) these approaches, great! Once they see people get better, they can help many more folks. If your doctor won't do the treatments and gets hostile or dismissive with you for bringing up these options, don't argue with them (it's a waste of time trying to force open a physician's closed mind). Instead find a Board Certified Holistic Physician to treat you or your loved ones.