Alzheimer`s Disease/medication


Haldol and Lewy Body Disease.  My husband had Alzheimer's Disease and Lewy Body Disease.  My question is: Should patients with Lewy Body Disease ever be put on the drug Haldol?  My husband was in two hospitals back to back. I gave them a report that stated he had possible co-existent Lewy Body Disease.  The first hospital tried Haldol and took him off when he had problems with something called QT prolongation. When they discharged him to the second facility they noted this in the chart. In the meantime I found out that Lewy Body patients shouldn't have Haldol and told the second facility.  They gave it to him anyway and when he had issues with it they took him off, but than when they discharged him to memory care facility they sent an order for Haldol.  The physician talked to me and basically said it wasn't necessarily true that Lewy Body patients shouldn't have Haldol.

Hello Marilyn:
I'm sorry to hear of your husband's ongoing problems with his dementia.  You may wish to ask this question of a physician since I can only give you an opinion as I'm not a doctor.  
In my experience, and from what I know, people with LBD can be very, very sensitive to medications--especially the meds used for behavior control.  Often, when those psychotropic meds are used in elders with LBD, it can make their dementia worse and they can experience side effects which could lead to an earlier death.  I also know that Haldol can cause many problems in elders who do not have LBD--it's a very strong drug.  I would ask why the doctor feels he needs to use that particular drug, and could something else be tried?  Sometimes an antidepressant is helpful to reduce behavior challenges.  I would also ask that Namenda be tried (needs to be titrated up from 5 mg. daily to 20 mg. daily over at least one month) since it was shown in studies to reduce agitation and aggression.  Namenda also has a very low side effect profile and you could also see some improvement in his ability to think and speak.  
All that being said, a majority of the time, elders with dementia will act out because the people interacting with them are doing it incorrectly, and that leads to some behavior issues.  
So, I cannot say that Haldol should never be used with elders with LBD, but I do believe it should be used only as a last resort after other less problematic drugs have been tried, and only in very small doses.  You do have the ability to tell them not to use that drug if you wish Marilyn.  
I wish you luck Marilyn as you continue to try to help your husband through his dementia.  Cindy

Alzheimer`s Disease

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Cindy Keith, RN, BS, Certified Dementia Practitioner


As a nurse and dementia consultant, I can answer most questions on all types of dementia. If I cannot answer your question, I will attempt to find someone who can. My passion is to help caregivers of people with dementia, which in turn helps all those wonderful elders with dementia live better lives. When caregivers are better educated, they are able to better care for themselves and their loved ones, so education is key to decreased stress levels and healthier, happier families.


I have worked as a nurse in various disciplines of nursing for over 20 years, most of which was with the elderly. I was a health care coordinator in a dementia dedicated assisted living facility for 4 years before I started my own business (M.I.N.D. in Memory Care) as a dementia consultant six years ago. As a dementia consultant, I help families nationwide through phone conference calls as they struggle to care for their loved ones with dementia.

Alzheimer's Foundation of America Geriatric Interest Network Sigma Theta Tau International

Published "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem - Caregiver Survival Manual For Living With A Person With Dementia" which is a collection of stories about people with dementia I have known, loved and worked with. Every story has a lesson to teach and this book gently teaches family caregivers lessons about how to better care for their loved one, as well as themselves during their caregiving journey. Published "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem In Eldercare Facilities: The Master Key For Dementia Training" Created "Bringing Nurturing To Memory Care" staff dementia training video Created Ebook: "Hair Stylist's Helpful Tips For Working With People With Alzheimer's & Other Dementias"

Registered Nurse with Bachelor's degree in Nursing; Certified Dementia Practitioner; Author of 2 books and an ebook

Awards and Honors
Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society of Nursing

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