Antibiotic temporarily improves Alzheimer’s symptoms


Q. My 83-year-old mother was diagnosed with dementia several years ago. She has been declining in her mental capabilities and is on the Alzheimer’s drug Aricept.

She recently became ill with salmonella and was hospitalized for a week. There, she was prescribed Levaquin every other day for two weeks to clear the infection. After the third dose, there was a remarkable improvement in her dementia symptoms. The days that she took the medication were better than the days she didn’t.

After she finished the medication, she got worse again. I’ve asked her neurologist and medical doctor if there is a compound in Levaquin that could be responsible for the drastic improvement, and they both said no. I know she can’t take this antibiotic on a long-term basis, but the results were amazing.

A. We are intrigued by your report, even though we could find no evidence that antibiotics such as levofloxacin (Levaquin) improve cognitive function. Such drugs can cause agitation and confusion.

There is one case report of a person with cognitive decline due to hydrocephalus becoming less apathetic and more capable during levofloxacin treatment (Neurologist, May 2012).

Fifteen years ago, we received a number of reports about dementia symptoms being reduced or temporarily reversed by a narcotic such as hydrocodone or oxycodone. We can’t explain those unusual reactions any more than we can explain your mother’s temporary improvement.

Q. Can you please tell me about a blood-pressure medicine that won’t cause a cough? I have been on lisinopril and can’t stand the constant coughing.

A. ACE inhibitors such as benazepril, captopril, enalapril, lisinopril and ramipril do a good job controlling blood pressure, but the cough that some people experience can be maddening. You must not switch any blood-pressure medicine on your own, but you should ask your physician for an alternative.

To help you with that conversation, we are sending you our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment with other drug options and nondrug alternatives. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (68 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, No. B-67, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our website: www.peoplespharmacy.com.

Q. When our kids came down with lice, we used Ulesfia. It was expensive, but it worked, 100 percent.

My son got lice again a year later, and I tried soaking his hair in original Listerine and covering it with a shower cap for 30 minutes. The results were even better, with the egg sacks sliding off the hair shaft easily. Very inexpensive!

The key is to comb out ALL the lice and nits after any treatment. Repeat the process in about a week to ensure that all are killed.

A. Ulesfia is a prescription anti-lice drug containing 5 percent benzyl alcohol. It works by suffocating the lice. Each 227-gram bottle costs around $190 with a coupon, and some people will need more than a single bottle.

We are pleased to hear that amber Listerine worked so well. We suspect it, too, works by suffocating the lice. Thank you for pointing out the importance of re-treating after a week to kill the newly hatched nymphs.

2016 King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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