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Friday, August 08, 2008 Bonnie, Community Member, asks

Q: My husband is taking Namenda & using the Exelon patch. Should he also take Aricept?

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Answers (7)
Carol Bradley Bursack, Health Guide
2/21/11 10:14am

Hi Bonnie,

Aricept is similar to Excelon, so it's not likely that they'd be used together. Obviously, only a doctor can give you a definitive answer, though.

Take care,

Carol

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Cville, Community Member
5/ 9/12 8:47am

Quick clarificaiton here - Aricept is actually the product that is similar to Namenda in that the active ingredient in Aricept (donepezil HCl) is one of the active ingredients in Namenda.  Namenda also contains memantine HCl which treats the disease in a slightly different way. 

 

Exelon contains a different drug called rivastigmine, which treats dememtia associated with Alzheimers and Parkinsons through a different mechanism.  Exelon and Namenda are often prescribed together, so ask your doctor whether he or she thinks the combination would be helpful to your husband.  Exelon can be taken via a patch that goes on the skin and is changed once a week, which may be convenient for you and your husband.

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NC, Community Member
8/ 9/08 12:56pm

I am not a doctor. But from what I researched in the web, Aricept is similar to Namenda. So your father does not need aricept. My father-in-law tried aricept and he stopped eating becuase of it. So he tried namenda and it worked. The doctor added exelon 3 months later to make it more effective. Aricept and namenda are similar. Namenda and exelon are a pair of drugs that brings maxmimun effect. My FIL is taking both namenda and exelon, just like your Dad. These drugs work wonders for my FIL. They both have different functions. You can search the websites and find out what each drug does.

 

Regards,

Nina

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NC, Community Member
8/ 9/08 2:28pm

Actually for your husband, you should ask his doctor to make sure what drugs are the best for him. The info. below is about the details for these drugs:

 

"In general, Reminyl, Exelon and Aricept are most effective when treatment is begun in the early stages. Namenda is the only drug shown to be effective for the later stages of the disease. They have all been shown to modestly slow the progression of cognitive symptoms and reduce problematic behaviors in some people, but at least half of the people who take these drugs do not respond to them. While the overall "treatment effect" of these medications is modest, studies show that when they do work, they can make a significant difference in a person's quality of life and day-to-day functioning ("activities of daily living"). The drugs have different side effects. Some are taken once a day (Aricept), others twice a day (Exelon, Reminyl and Namenda)."

 

Hope this helps.
Nina

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NC, Community Member
8/10/08 3:05pm

Just want to make correction: namenda is NOT similar to aricept. Aricept and Exelon fall in the same category for early-moderate stages. I didn't realize that. Anyway, like I said in the second answer, namenda is for moderate-severe stage.

 

Nina

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rooby_doo71, Community Member
11/12/08 9:27pm

I heard that the patch replaces aricept and should not be taken together

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J.N., Community Member
2/20/11 11:35am

I don't the answer to that Bonnie but I do have a question.

 

When your husband started taking these two together did you notice a difference in his strength? did he seem weak and tired? We are trying to figure out why my mother in law is so weak now after taking this medicine. She has been on the meds for approx. 5 weeks and we have noticed a change in her strength and alertness.

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jean, Community Member
5/30/11 2:01pm

I have been researching alzheimer's because a friend of mine has be recently diagnosed with this horrible disease!  From what I have been reading, Aricept and Exelon work differently.  Aricept prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain and Exelon increase the amount of acetylcholine in the brain.  So it would seem to be that it may be possible for the Aricept and Exelon to be used together but it would take a doctor to tell us this for sure.

 

HOWEVER, MY FRIEND HAS BEEN ON THE EXELON PATCH FOR 2 WEEKS AND SHE SEEMS TO BE GETTING WORSE!  (Depression, more frequent bouts of forgetfulness, bad attitude and possibly loss of appetite)  What can anybody else tell me about this.  Thank you.

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Carol Bradley Bursack, Health Guide
5/ 9/12 9:51am

Isn't that frustrating? We hope that something will work and then see a person go backward.

Some people do get worse on the medications. The first thing to do is contact the doctor. If side effects are transient, then he or she may want to maintain the medicaitons. But Namenda doesn't help every person with AD, and yes, some people may get worse. People react as individuals. I'd write down exactly what changes you see and then contact the doctor. 

Take care,

Carol

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By Bonnie, Community Member— Last Modified: 01/28/14, First Published: 08/08/08