NURS 6521 Alzheimer’s Disease 76-year-old Iranian Male

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NURS 6521 Alzheimer’s Disease 76-year-old Iranian Male

NURS 6521 Alzheimer’s Disease 76-year-old Iranian Male

BACKGROUND
Mr. Akkad is a 76 year old Iranian male who is brought to your office by his eldest son for “strange behavior.” Mr. Akkad was seen by his family physician who ruled out any organic basis for Mr. Akkad’s behavior. All laboratory and diagnostic imaging tests (including CT-scan of the head) were normal.
According to his son, he has been demonstrating some strange thoughts and behaviors for the past two years, but things seem to be getting worse. Per the client’s son, the family noticed that Mr. Akkad’s personality began to change a few years ago. He began to lose interest in religious activities with the family and became more “critical” of everyone. They also noticed that things he used to take seriously had become a source of “amusement” and “ridicule.”
Over the course of the past two years, the family has noticed that Mr. Akkad has been forgetting things. His son also reports that sometimes he has difficult “finding the right words” in a conversation and then will shift to an entirely different line of conversation.

SUBJECTIVE
During the clinical interview, Mr. Akkad is pleasant, cooperative and seems to enjoy speaking with you. You notice some confabulation during various aspects of memory testing, so you perform a Mini-Mental State Exam. Mr. Akkad scores 18 out of 30 with primary deficits in orientation, registration, attention & calculation, and recall. The score suggests moderate dementia.

MENTAL STATUS EXAM
Mr. Akkad is 76 year old Iranian male who is cooperative with today’s clinical interview. His eye contact is poor. Speech is clear, coherent, but tangential at times. He makes no unusual motor movements and demonstrates no tic. Self-reported mood is euthymic. Affect however is restricted. He denies visual or auditory hallucinations. No delusional or paranoid thought processes noted. He is alert and oriented to person, partially oriented to place, but is disoriented to time and event [he reports that he thought he was coming to lunch but “wound up here”- referring to your office, at which point he begins to laugh]. Insight and judgment are impaired. Impulse control is also impaired as evidenced by Mr. Akkad’s standing up during the clinical interview and walking towards the door. When you asked where he was going, he stated that he did not know. Mr. Akkad denies suicidal or homicidal ideation.
Diagnosis: Major neurocognitive disorder due to Alzheimer’s disease (presumptive)

RESOURCES
§ Folstein, M. F., Folstein, S. E., & McHugh, P. R. (2002). Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Lutz, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.

Decision Point One
Select what you should do:

Begin Exelon (rivastigmine) 1.5 mg orally BID with an increase to 3 mg orally BID in 2 weeks

: Begin Aricept (donepezil) 5 mg orally at BEDTIME

Begin Razadyne (galantamine) 4 mg orally BID

Decision Point One

Begin Exelon (rivastigmine) 1.5 mg orally BID with an increase to 3 mg orally BID in 2 weeks
RESULTS OF DECISION POINT ONE
• Client returns to clinic in four weeks
• The client is accompanied by his son who reports that his father is “no better” from this medication. He reports that his father is still disinterested in attending religious services/activities, and continues to exhibit disinhibited behaviors
• You continue to note confabulation and decide to administer the MMSE again. Mr. Akkad again scores 18 out of 30 with primary deficits in orientation, registration, attention & calculation, and recall
Decision Point Two

 

Increase Exelon to 4.5 mg orally BID

RESULTS OF DECISION POINT TWO
• Client returns to clinic in four weeks
• Client’s son reports that the client is tolerating the medication well, but is still concerned that his father is no better
• He states that his father is attending religious services with the family, which the son and the rest of the family is happy about. He reports that his father is still easily amused by things he once found serious
Decision Point Three

 

Increase Exelon to 6 mg orally BID

Guidance to Student
At this point, the client is reporting no side effects and is participating in an important part of family life (religious services). This could speak to the fact that the medication may have improved some symptoms. you needs to counsel the client’s son on the trajectory of presumptive Alzheimer’s disease in that it is irreversible, and while cholinesterase inhibitors can stabilize symptoms, this process can take months. Also, these medications are incapable of reversing the degenerative process. Some improvements in problematic behaviors (such as disinhibition) may be seen, but not in all clients.
At this point, you could maintain the current dose until the next visit in 4 weeks, or you could increase it to 6 mg orally BID and see how the client is doing in 4 more weeks. Augmentation with Namenda is another possibility, but you should maximize the dose of the cholinesterase inhibitor before adding augmenting agents. However, some experts argue that combination therapy should be used from the onset of treatment.
Finally, it is important to note that changes in the MMSE should be evaluated over the course of months, not weeks. The absence of change in the MMSE after 4 weeks of treatment should not be a source of concern.
Decision Point One

: Begin Aricept (donepezil) 5 mg orally at BEDTIME
RESULTS OF DECISION POINT ONE
• Client returns to clinic in four weeks
• The client is accompanied by his son who reports that his father is “no better” from this medication
• He reports that his father is still disinterested in attending religious services/activities, and continues to exhibit disinhibited behaviors
• You continue to note confabulation and decide to administer the MMSE again. Mr. Akkad again scores 18 out of 30 with primary deficits in orientation, registration, attention & calculation, and recall
Decision Point Two

 

Increase Aricept to 10 mg orally at BEDTIME

RESULTS OF DECISION POINT TWO
• Client returns to clinic in four weeks
• Client’s son reports that the client is tolerating the medication well, but is still concerned that his father is no better
• He states that his father is attending religious services with the family, which the son and the rest of the family is happy about. He reports that his father is still easily amused by things he once found serious
Decision Point Three

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NURS 6521 Alzheimer’s Disease 76-year-old Iranian Male

NURS 6521 Alzheimer’s Disease 76-year-old Iranian Male

Continue Aricept 10 mg orally at BEDTIME

Guidance to Student
At this point, it would be prudent to continue Aricept at 10 mg orally at bedtime. Recall that this medication can take several months before stabilization of deterioration is noted. At this point, the client is attending religious services with the family, which has made the family happy. Disinhibition may improve in a few weeks, or it may not improve at all. This is a counseling point that you should review with the son.
There is no evidence that Aricept given at doses greater than 10 mg per day has any therapeutic benefit. It can, however, cause side effects. Increasing to 15 and 20 mg per day would not be appropriate.
There is nothing in the clinical presentation to suggest that the Aricept should be discontinued. Whereas it may be appropriate to add Namenda to the current drug profile, there is no need to discontinue Aricept. In fact, NMDA receptor antagonist therapy is often used with cholinesterase inhibitors in combination therapy to treat Alzheimer’s disease. The key to using both medications is slow titration upward toward therapeutic doses to minimize negative side effects.
Finally, it is important to note that changes in the MMSE should be evaluated over the course of months, not weeks. The absence of change in the MMSE after 4 weeks of treatment should not be a source of concern.
Decision Point One

Begin Razadyne (galantamine) 4 mg orally BID
RESULTS OF DECISION POINT ONE
• Client returns to clinic in four weeks
• The client is accompanied by his son who reports that his father is “no better” from this medication
• He reports that his father is still disinterested in attending religious services/activities, and continues to exhibit disinhibited behaviors
• You continue to note confabulation and decide to administer the MMSE again. Mr. Akkad again scores 18 out of 30 with primary deficits in orientation, registration, attention & calculation, and recall
Decision Point Two

 

Increase Razadyne to 24 mg extended release daily

RESULTS OF DECISION POINT TWO
• Client returns to clinic in four weeks
• The client’s son accompanies the client to his appointment today. The client is in a wheelchair and is somewhat agitated
• You are informed by the son that his father has not taken his medication since he got out of the hospital. Apparently, about 7 days after starting the Galantamine extended release, the client began having seizures which resulted in a fall and fractured hip. The son reports that his father is agitated with everyone and is asking for help in treating his agitation
Decision Point Three

 

Restart Razadyne extended release 24 mg

Guidance to Student
Razadyne extended release 24 mg is a “target” dose—not a starting dose. Side effects of Razadyne include GI side effects as well as dizziness. Rare side effects include seizures. If no other medications were added to the client’s medication regimen and no other physical issues were present (e.g., metabolic derangements), then the high dose of Razadyne in this client would most likely be responsible for his seizures, which resulted in the fall and the hip fracture. This would represent malpractice. If you were to consider restarting Razadyne, it should be restarted at a proper starting dose, as side effects are often dose dependent.
Risperdal would not be appropriate to treat agitation in this client as the FDA has issued a black box warning against the treatment of agitation in dementia with antipsychotic medications. Although they can still be used despite black box warnings, you should conduct a comprehensive assessment of this client to see if a physical issue is causing the agitation. A hip fracture is often associated with pain, and untreated pain may be the cause of the client’s agitation. Therefore, assessment for pain would be the correct choice in this scenario.
Never use psychotropic drugs to treat behaviors until physical causes of the behavior have been ruled out (e.g., pain, infection, constipation).
Finally, it is important to note that changes in the MMSE should be evaluated over the course of months, not weeks. The absence of change in the MMSE after 4 weeks of treatment should not be a source of concern.

 

 

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