From Our Readers – Q&A Session 10-29-08

Switching Alzheimer’s Meds?

Q: I read if you go off Aricept you cannot use it again. If this statement is correct, is it also true you cannot go from Aricept to the Exelon patch and back onto Aricept? – Martha

A: We checked the FDA’s approved prescribing information, the PDR, and reputable Alzheimer’s organizations for both Aricept® and the Exelon® patch, but did not find anything indicating that you could not restart Aricept or switch from one Alzheimer’s medication to another.

The only warning we found was that if you stop using the Exelon patch for any reason, you should not restart the medication without talking to your doctor first because you may need to restart at a lower dose. Of course, any change in medication should be discussed with your doctor first. If you still have questions about these medications, call your pharmacist. They are usually happy to help you with mediation-related questions.


Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

Q: My daughter has had Lyme disease for 2 years. Her doctor is recommending hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Is this safe? Is it becoming a more common therapy? – Lynn

A: We found two articles – an overview and a study – that seem to give a pretty good picture of how hyperbaric oxygen therapy is used to treat Lyme disease. The overview includes the risks, which appear to be relatively minor as long as the patient is properly evaluated prior to beginning treatment. While HBO therapy may not yet be a common treatment, it does seem to show great promise.

“An Overview of Lyme Disease and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.”

“Study: Effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy on Lyme Disease.”


Lewy Body Disease Treatment?

Q: Effexor® is an SNRI [serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor]. Is this appropriate for Lewy Body Disease or should an SSRI [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor] be used? – Martha

A: As I’m sure you know, Lewy Body Disease is one of the most common causes of dementia in the elderly. As of yet, no medications have been found that successfully slow or stop the progression of LBD, so treatment is directed at reducing its symptoms and improving daily functioning and quality of life for patients and their families. Since the type and severity of symptoms vary from patient to patient, doctors must determine the most effective treatment plan for each individual. Whether an SNRI or an SSRI is best is a decision that would have to be made by the patient’s doctor based on that patient’s particular needs.

The Lewy Body Dementia Association, Inc. has some good information about treatment options for LBD as well as offering general information and resources concerning LBD.


Weight Gain From Livial® HRT?

Q: I had a complete hysterectomy 2 yrs ago and I am on Livial hormone replacement therapy… Will this cause me to put on weight? I feel that I am having difficulty keeping my weight down. – Francesca

A: Yes, weight gain is one of the possible side effects of Livial (tibolone). Note: Livial is not available in the U.S. but is approved for use in a several other countries.


D-Ribose & the Glycemic Level?

Q: Since D-Ribose is a sugar, does it raise the glycemic level in the blood or is it metabolized by the muscles totally?

A: Ribose is a simple sugar that is used by all the body’s cells for energy production. Ribose has been shown to support improved heart function and reduced stress on the cardiovascular system after strenuous activity. D-Ribose is a 5 carbon sugar, molecularly different from glucose, the 6-carbon sugar.

Glucose and other 6 carbon sugars are used as fuel for the cells and do increase the amount of sugar in the blood. D-ribose is used to synthesize energy in the body and has not been shown to have a significant effect on raising the blood sugar.

However, there have been reports that large doses of ribose can actually lower the blood glucose significantly. As with any new supplement, if you are a diabetic or are prone to hyperglycemia, it is important to consult with your physician first, and to check your blood glucose levels after starting the new supplement as well.
Note: This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is generic and is not meant to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any illness, condition, or disease. It is very important that you make no change in your healthcare plan or health support regimen without researching and discussing it in collaboration with your professional healthcare team.

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