Dear Dr. Gott: I am writing to thank you for writing the article about Seroquel being risky for elderly patients.
My wife is 82 years old and has had dementia for many years. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and given many different medications to try, but nothing worked. When she started getting worse, her physician prescribed Seroquel.
About four or five weeks into taking the medication, she became really confused. She would wake up at night and want to go home without realizing she already was home.
After reading your column, I took my wife off the Seroquel and noticed a dramatic change within a week. She has told me that she is feeling better than ever. She now takes 3 milligrams of melatonin, which helps her sleep all night, and she has no more confusion during the day.
Dear Reader: I am glad to hear that my column helped your wife; however, if she has dementia, she should never have been prescribed the medication.
Seroquel is an antipsychotic medication used to treat conditions such as bipolar disorder, not Alzheimer’s. There is even a black-box warning stating that it should not be used in elderly dementia patients. Assuming your wife really has Alzheimer’s, her physician made a potentially dangerous error.
You say that your wife is feeling better, no longer confused and sleeping all night thanks to stopping the Seroquel and starting melatonin. If she is no longer having symptoms of dementia, perhaps she doesn’t really have Alzheimer’s.
There are several disorders that can cause dementia and other neurological changes. Vitamin deficiencies, normal pressure hydrocephalus, Alzheimer’s, even depression or sleeping abnormalities are possible culprits.
I urge your wife to undergo testing to determine the cause of her dementia. She should also be under the care of a neurologist if she isn’t already. If she is seeing such a specialist, ask for a referral for a second opinion. If it was her primary-care physician who prescribed the Seroquel, perhaps it would be appropriate to find another, since he or she has already shown disregard for medication warning labels.
If symptoms persist but are mild, she may be fine without medication, but be sure to speak with her specialist about this.
I am sending you copies of my Health Reports “Alzheimer’s Disease” and “Medical Specialists.” Other readers who would like copies should send a self-addressed stamped No. 10 envelope and check or money order for $2 per report to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title(s).
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