Alzheimer's and lots of anxiety

  1. My 85 year old mom has CHF and alzheimer's. Mom has a lot of anxiety so I asked the doctor if she could have meds for anxiety. The doctor ordered zoloft and that didn't help. Now the doctor is trying lithium for mom's anxiety???? Does this sound like a normal order or does Mom need a new doctor? Please let me know what you think. Thanks
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    About Blackcat99

    Joined: Jan '04; Posts: 3,162; Likes: 1,153
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  3. by   CapeCodMermaid
    Lithium for anxiety in a demented elder? I thought Lithium was an old drug used in bipolar disorder. Maybe it'll work, but make sure she has her labs checked regularly. I think, if I can remember that far back, that lithium has a very narrow therapeutic vs toxic range.
  4. by   Blackcat99
    Thanks CapeCodMermaid. The doctor had told me last year to limit her fluids because of her CHF. However, I remember they said that it is important for a patient to drink a lot of water when on lithium. I also remember saying that they have to check the blood of lithium patients frequently. I don't think Mom is going to allow anyone to take her blood frequently. When I worked in LTC, I never had a doctor order lithium for anxiety. I don't know what's going on.:uhoh21:
  5. by   txspadequeenRN take her to another doctor. me personally i would not give it to my mom. of course you know as we age our body slows down and lithium is a medication that does require lots of fluids . because the elderly is at risk for dehydration and because her body is slowing down you are looking at some serious side effects. elderly folks can get great benefits from taking ativan or xanax as as needed drug for anxiety...oh and yes, my husband takes lithium for bi-polar...
  6. by   Levin
    I'll second that, CHF and Chronic Renal Failure are partners in crime.

    Lithium + Renal Failure gives me the heebie jeebies.

  7. by   Omomo-Don
    Preliminary evidence suggests that buspirone may be a good nonsedating alternative to treat Alzheimer's disease patients with persistent anxiety symptoms and agitation–aggression. Effective doses reported range from 15 to 60 mg/day is generally well-tolerated.

    problems are not the problem, but the problem is in trying to to cope with problems on our own and with our own resources and in our own strenght, or weaknesses. with the help of the lord we can handle its challanges and heartaches. but the good news is that we have- the good shepherd- to walk with us alongs life way. you have nothing to worry about cast your cares on God and he ll lift the burden for your sake....
  8. by   cisco
    my mother who is 81 was going through some anxiety problems, although she doesn't have alzheimers. We decided to make sure she had a good multi vitamin/mineral qd, 50-100 mg. B complex bid, 600 mg calcium with 250 mg magnesium and 400 iu vitamin D bid, 1 g of omega 3 fish oil tid. After 2 weeks, she was much more relaxed and started sleeping better because of the calcium/mag before bedtime. She also took 60 mg ginko biloba bid, this really helped her memory!!
  9. by   Blackcat99
    Thanks all.:smilecoffeecup: Yes, I think I need to stop the lithium. It has helped some but I think it is too dangerous for my mom. I too had also heard great things about buspar, but when I asked the doctor about buspar, she said no and prescribed lithium instead.
  10. by   azlisa
    My husband is CHF, asthma, 1 horse shoe shaped kidney.And for stress/anxiety Dr has him on prozac. If CHF dosen't get him, renal failure will, eventually. Lisa W
  11. by   Blackcat99
    Sorry to hear about your husband. I am going to see Mom's doctor this wednesday. I feel like screaming:angryfire :angryfire :angryfire "Doctor, my mom has anxiety-lots of it!!!! I want something for anxiety not something to kill her off." I read more about mom's lithium and it said don't give to patients on lasix. My mom is on lasix for CHF. Don't give to patients with heart disease and arrythmias. Don't give lithium to patients with thyroid problems. Mom has CHF, Arrythmias and thyroid problems too!!!!!
  12. by   TheCommuter
    I am rather surprised that no one has suggested any benzodiazepines to help with the anxiety.

    There are many patients who have concurrent diagnoses of CHF and Alzheimer's disease at the LTCF where I am employed. The vast majority of these elderly residents are on some type of PRN benzodiazepine for anxiety such as Ativan, Xanax, Klonopin, or Valium. Many receive Restoril at bedtime for a peaceful, uninterrupted sleep.
  13. by   CapeCodMermaid
    [font="comic sans ms"]benzos are not the first choice for elderly people because of the increased risk of sedation with subsequent falls.
    valium is on the beers' list and should not be used in elderly people
    (shouldn't be used by's a really bad drug). you can get cited by dph under the new medication tag if you are using a drug from the beers' list without a very good risk vs benefit note from the doc.
  14. by   Blackcat99
    Thanks all. The doctor has now ordered zoloft and seroquel for Mom. The doctor said she talked to a psychiatrist about my mom and that is what he suggested. I'm hoping for the best.