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Dementia Drug Devastating


My life turned upside down last year when my mother's health failed and she developed dementia. It turned into a nightmare when I had no alternative but to place her in a nursing home.

My life turned upside down last year when my mother’s health failed and she developed dementia. It turned into a nightmare when I had no alternative but to place her in a nursing home. They almost killed her through neglect and incompetence. Rules and regulations of the home and the government forced a drug on my mother to control her dementia.

Eighteen years ago I became interested in natural healing methods–one of the reasons my mother appointed me as her attorney for medical decisions before her dementia problems began. Her system could not handle medications anymore and I refused at first to allow the new drug’s use, but the shortage of staff made it impossible for the home to keep track of her medications or treatment. Her health problems were unique, the surroundings were strange and staff who, untrained to deal with people like my mom, responded inappropriately. She struck out physically and continuously tried to get out of the building.

Suing Not a Solution

Health Canada was brought in to investigate. The home was told they were totally wrong in what they had been doing. I was told that Health Canada could do nothing about it and that it was up to me to sue the home or bring charges against them. The home has powerful investors and they could drag the case out in court for years.

The lawyer said I stood a good chance of winning, but it was not money that I was concerned about. My mother did not have that much time left (she is eighty-five now) and I was too worn out from caring for her. The ordeal at the home had stretched my nerves to the breaking point and there was no money to pursue a legal course of action. I had no choice but to abandon what needed to be done.

What I want to know is why the drug risperidone, is being used to treat seniors? It is an anti-psychotic developed in the US and was put on the market about six years ago. I learned this and much more from the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals at the library. The drug was designed with younger people in mind to help mental disorders. It’s a toxic chemical soup containing dangerous substances, such as those used to treat cancer.

I discovered through my mother’s treatment that it is being used to treat dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and any other old person who might be mentally slowing down from age but still very active. It can also diminish sexual desire and performance. It’s the perfect solution for nursing homes that have a staff shortage and untrained personnel, or just for keeping the old still and quiet. This drug may not affect younger people as quickly in the physical sense as it does the seniors for obvious reasons.

Devastating Effects

The drug works quickly and gives the appearance of helping dementia and Alzheimer’s as I saw in my mother’s case. It also slows a senior down to the point where they can barely walk. Instead they shuffle along because of the action of the drug on the nerves. The action of this drug occurs in the liver–it undoubtedly causes a toxic overload on people who have probably been on all kinds of drugs over the years.

After just two or three days on risperidone my mother lost control of her bowels and bladder and she became groggy. Soon after she complained of her back hurting and not being able to walk. I ended up renting a wheelchair for her. I was concerned and talked to the staff but to no avail. She was on the drug for about three weeks.

I was at the nursing home every other day and sometimes every day. My mother suffered a fall at the end of her second week and I began to keep a diary to record everything that happened from that day until she left the home. I was told at a meeting that, among other things, workers at the nursing home didn’t like me questioning their methods.

Digging Through the Drugs

A person can learn a great deal if they are willing to do some research and ask the right questions of the right people. The Compendium of Pharmaceuticals opened my eyes. After the library, I went to a pharmacy and learned that more prescriptions for risperidone were being made out than all other other prescriptions added together. This drug was going out to all the nursing homes in the area.

Soon after she came off the risperidone, my mother’s mobility returned and she no longer needed the wheelchair. It was shortly after the investigation that she was sent to the psychiatric hospital for evaluation. She will remain in this type of environment until she dies. She is treated with respect and even loved by the staff. I have also been afforded the same treatment and encouragement.

I told the management of the nursing home the day I moved my mother’s belongings out that I would not be suing them, but that I would be writing letters to certain parts of the media to gain public awareness. An investigation needs to be done.

There are others besides Health Canada who are aware of what happened to my mother and me, but I’ve come to realize it is going to take some rocking the boat on my part for the right ears to not only hear but to listen and find out the truth of the matter.

I truly believe it is better to try to right a wrong than to do nothing at all.

Potential Side Effects of Risperidone

  • Reduced salivation, urination disturbances such as uncontrolled urination and increased volume

  • Diarrhea–acute renal failure

  • Weight gain, excessive bleeding during menstruation

  • Diminished sexual desire and performance

  • Interference with thought processes including perception, intuition and reasoning

  • Difficulty in walking properly or standing up straight, problems balancing

  • Decreased cardiac function

  • Excessive thirst

  • Joint pain

  • Trembling

  • Difficulty breathing


Innovation for Good

Innovation for Good

Neil ZevnikNeil Zevnik