If you haven't read the the previous article, " The Pain of being Misdiagnosed" you should.
In June 2010 the Psychiatrist at NY Cornell Hospital decided to put me on Aricept after it was discovered I had FTD/Frontotemporal Degeneration. The Psychiatrist should have checked with a neurologist. Aricept is used for Alzheimer's type dementia and it is well documented that there can be adverse reactions if given to someone with FTD. Doctors mistakenly give Aricept to people with FTD because it is a form of dementia. FTD and Alzheimer's both fall into the category of Dementia's but where Alzheimer's effects memory, FTD does not, at least until the later stages.
Please remember, not everyone has adverse reactions to Aricept. If a person has been taking Aricept for an extended amount of time, there is less of a chance of an adverse reaction. If there is any question that it might be having a negative impact on your love one, don't panic but contact your neurologist.
I left the Hospital and went home knowing I had this rare form of Dementia and that my life was forever changed. It was still feeling the effects of the pharmaceutical cocktails I was kept in a medically induced fog on for years. I was feeling clearer but was having strange issues with my behavior (nothing violent or crazy, just stranger than normal). Just FTDi-sh. There were also these strange episodes:
I was getting very confused and disoriented on a consistent basis. There was absolutely no pattern but I would seem to have these episodes that would last minutes to hours.The handyman found me out in the street and took me home. I would get on the subway and not be sure where I was and ride the subways for hours. I could easily stare at wall in a daze from minutes to hours. There were plenty of times people would talk to me and I couldn't understand a word they were saying. It was like they were talking Martian. I would stare at them with a blank look on my face. I would also could not tell which way traffic was moving and New York Taxi Cab drivers will aim for you if you step into the middle of the street.
It was dangerous and I was getting worse.
I also started looking up Picks disease/Frontotemporal Degeneration on the web. Everything was devastating. I was consistently reading people with Frontotemporal disorders typically live only 6-8 years. This was consistent with The Mayo clinic, The NY Times, The US Department of Health and Human Services etc.
I had the disease since 2004. That means I had FTD for 6 years. I was totally disoriented a good deal of the time and it was getting worse. The message was very clear:
Howard Glick was about to die.
Finally I found a wonderful community neurologist in September who specialized in Dementia. Dr. Kyra Blatt had an office only a few blocks from where I lived. My lifelong friend David used to take me there every other week. Dr Blatt BANNED from reading anything else on FTD on internet. I was obsessed with the fact that I was near death and who could blame me.
Dr. Blatt contacted the Neurology Department at Columbia University Medical Center and confirmed that I was having a Paradoxical Reaction to Aricept and immediately took me off it. It took what was probably months for the horrible side effects of Aricept to wear off.
I went through four months of having a terrible Paradoxical reaction to Aricept and mixed with the negligent life expectancy statistics written in well known medical periodicals and newspapers I thought death was imminent.
Management and Prognosis