Caring for a loved one with dementia often involves coping with personality changes or troubling behavior, such as wandering or aggressiveness. These behavioral issues are affected by their environment and stress level. As a caregiver or family member, this can be frustrating and even stressful.
Difficult behaviors are often managed with medications like sedatives, antipsychotics, or tranquilizers. However, handling them can be risky. Trying behavior management strategies or using non-drug approaches first is recommended by experts to avoid dangerous side effects. It also tends to be more effective in the long run than relying on chemical restraints. Unfortunately, in some circumstances, resorting to medication is necessary.
What Are Common Medications Used for Behavioral Symptoms?
It’s essential to try identifying triggers that worsen difficult behavior before resorting to medication. However, if non-drug approaches are not working despite being used consistently, introduce medications that may be appropriate for their severe symptoms. This is especially important if they have the potential to harm themselves or others.
Look for FDA-approved medications for people with dementia. These are some that can be used to manage sleep disturbances, low mood, irritability, hostility, and verbally disruptive behavior:
- Aripiprazole (Abilify)
- Citalopram (Celexa)
- Clozapine (Clozaril)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Haloperidol (Haldol)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
- Olanzapine (Zyprexa)
- Oxazepam (Serax)
- Paroxetine (Paxil)
- Quetiapine (Seroquel)
- Risperidone (Risperdal)
- Sertraline (Zoloft)
- Suvorexant (Belsomra)
- Trazodone (Desyrel)
- Ziprasidone (Geodon)
No specific medication has been clinically proven to improve difficult behavior for most people with dementia. For this reason, prepare to do trial-and-error and carefully monitor how the medication affects your loved one, including negative side effects. Don’t forget to consult a doctor before proceeding with this method.
How Do You Manage Medication for Difficult Dementia Behaviors?
Proper medication management is necessary to avoid medication-related problems. Additional measures for taking medications may be necessary for people living with dementia.
To achieve proper medication management, make a list of their medications and find out as much information as possible about them. This includes detailing their potential side effects. Check also for possible drug interactions, especially when a new medication is prescribed.
Your loved one will need help remembering to take medications. As the disease progresses, they will require a greater level of care. Buying them a pillbox organizer and using a medication tracker will aid in ensuring they take their medications as directed. To avoid accidental overdose, this pillbox organizer must be placed in a locked cabinet or drawer.
It’s also vital to develop a routine for your loved one when giving medication. For instance, their medications should be taken after meals or before bed at the right dosage. A medication log will be beneficial to prevent an overdose or drug interaction with other medication.
There is no easy way to cope with and fix the behavior changes of your loved one with dementia, but improvement is possible. If they need to be medicated for their behavioral issues, ensure they must be taken as prescribed. For proper medication management, use the right medication tracker app.
MedManage is a medication log app that helps you take better care of your loved one with dementia by keeping track of their medication. It is a cloud-based medication management system for storing and sharing medication status and history. Download our app now from Apple Store or Google Play Store!