Am I Getting Proper Treatment for Alzheimer’s?

Am I Getting Proper Treatment for Alzheimer’s?
Dear Debbie,
Why did my doctor prescribe Reminyl instead of Aricept? And how did my doctor even diagnose my forgetfulness as Alzheimer’s without testing me? I had suffered for years from Adult Attention Deficit and as soon as I communicated my forgetfulness to my doctor, he treated me as though he was certain that I had Alzheimer’s. I do not feel comfortable with either my diagnosis or medication even though I recognize that I have a memory and cognition problem that might be the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Have you read any studies?

Dear Friend,
While I am not a doctor, I can comment on the most recently published and respected studies. Because I am not a physician, nor a representative of a drug company, I can look at the whole unbiased picture. I would also like to tell you and my readers that it is important to question your doctor if you have any doubts about diagnosis and treatment or need more information about how a conclusion was reached. There are many wonderful neurologists and geriatric psychiatrists to choose from if you don’t get along with yours.
Note: Before your doctor’s visit it helps to write down your questions and then during the visit write down the answers. If possible take along a family member or friend to observe and record as well. Sometimes we get nervous and don’t even hear what is being said.

Here are my findings from several studies to answer your questions:
  • Aricept (donepezil HCl tablets) is preferred over Reminyl (galantamine HBr tablets) for early to moderate Alzheimer’s. Aricept has the fewest side effects and is most cognitively enhancing at maximum dosage. Both drugs are cholinesterase inhibitors. Reminyl is newer. However, studies generally prefer Aricept. Drugs and their dosages must be individually monitored. There are different Alzheimer’s drugs available to give people options if they can’t tolerate one particular medication. Reminyl has been found to be helpful in people with mixed dementia which means having dementia plus cerebrovascular disease, like stroke.
  • An MRI is an effective test to see if there is any shrinkage of the hippocampal fissure which begins early in Alzheimer’s disease, even before symptoms appear. It can be used as a baseline for future MRIs as the disease is suspected to advance.
  • An 18-month study into a new surgical treatment for Alzheimer’s disease using a device called the COGNIShunt, is being undertaken by neurologists at Emory University. The shunt is designed to drain cerebrospinal fluid from the skull and into the abdominal cavity. By reducing the build-up of this fluid around the brain, doctors hope this device will help to stabilize the disease. So far the device was well tolerated by individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer at Southampton College. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WLIE 540AM in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit:

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