Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Alzheimer's, sleep, and diabetes--three very interesting amigos

I didn't realize until reading this abstract that Alzheimer's disease affects sleep patterns as well as memory. It makes sense, since adequate sleep is necessary in order to retain memory of information gained during the day.

The medication reviewed in this article is galantamine (Reminyl), and the authors suggest that it is important to time medication administration in order to gain maximum effectiveness and sleep. And, that certain medications help (and interfere with) sleep more than others.

Disrupted sleep can worsen diabetes. Since many people with Alzheimer's also have diabetes--in fact, the two diseases are starting to be recognized as being very strongly linked to each other--this connection between sleep and medication can be very important to understand.

My guess is that if you are on this blog looking for information about Alzheimer's, it is a loved one, not you, that the information is for. Here is the bottom line:
1. If your loved one had problems with sleep before being recommended or placed on medication, it might be a good idea to check with the prescribing physician to be sure this was taken into account when choosing which Alzheimer's medication to prescribe.
2. If your loved one has developed changes in sleep habits since starting an Alzheimer's medication, be sure to let the prescribing physician know.
3. If your loved one's diabetes has become worse despite diligent attention to medications and food intake, consider the influence of sleep or lack thereof.
4. Be sure to ask your physician and/or pharmacist if there is a time of day your particular medication needs to be taken for maximum effectiveness.

Nieoullon A, Bentué-Ferrer D, Bordet R, Tsolaki M, Förstl H. Importance of circadian rhythmicity in the cholinergic treatment of Alzheimer's disease: focus on galantamine*. Curr Med Res Opin. 2008 Dec;24(12):3357-67.

1 comment:

Anthony Sepe said...

It does make so much sense after reading this; however, I never realized this either. After thinking about it--really no different than not eating properly nor not not eating at all, will drastically effect those with depression.