Dear Carol: My 79-year-old mother is on mediation for aggression due to her dementia, but she still has periodic violent outbursts where she kicks and hits me. Her psychiatrist has tried several drugs in small doses to avoid side effects, but most of them leave her sleepy and have had little positive effect. Zyprexa has helped her the most, but that only means the outbursts have been cut in half. We haven’t found any specific triggers. Her physical aggression is wearing me out and I’m tired of this medication rollercoaster that’s been going on for three years. Am I expecting too much from these drugs? - Jeannine
Dear Jeannine: It’s likely that someday a physician will be able to order a blood test which will identify the exact medication needed to balance a person’s brain chemistry. Unfortunately, we are a long way from that ideal. Your mother’s doctor is trying his or her best to find a medication that will help, but considering your mother’s age as well as any possible health issues she may have, finding the optimum medication is difficult.