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Posted by agnespuffin (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 17, 11 at 2:43

I only know what I have read about the medication, Ritilin.
Therefore, I would like to pick your brains for some more personal information if you have any.

An elderly relative (96 years old) was recently given Ritilin. What is it supposed to do for someone that age that can barely move? Maybe it's to keep her from sleeping so much?

She's more disoriented than usual. I fear it's the Ritilin.

Any opinions?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Ritilin


Correct spelling always helps!


RE: Ritilin

Best wishes for her good health!

Ritalin is used for depression in the elderly. It does what other antidepressants don't do-it has a fast onset. It is used in conjunction with antidepressants, to cover that getting up to the dosage period.

I can't see that is what is slowing her down. It should do the opposite? Maybe she's still depressed? But then, I'm no doctor!


RE: Ritilin

Age is what has slowed her down. She can barely function. Nothing but skin and bones. She must weigh less that 75 lbs. Seems alert, but somewhat vague in speech. Laughs at jokes, glad to have visitors. Hospice, doctors, etc. have all said that she is near death.

So, why the Ritalin?? It certainly isn't for depression unless the doctor is an idiot. (that's always a possibility) Maybe he is afraid of dying and thinks she is too.

Anyway, she's just been on it a short while and her disorientation is worse. That could because of her situation, not the Ritalin. But I am still curious as to what it is supposed to do for her.

RE: Ritilin

Is Ritalin covered by insurance?

RE: Ritilin

That's a curious question west? Yes, it is. It is, however, a controlled substance, and can only be ordered and delivered in certain ways. Unlike, say, Singulair where you can order it over the phone and they'll deliver it right to your doorstep and even leave it there unattended.

Wonder what diagnosis made them prescribe it Aggie?

RE: Ritilin

Rob, I just don't know. She has been on Morphine, which I asssume is for pain. She has to be having some pain as the joints and other things certainly don't have any protection except for skin.

I'm thinking that the Ritalin might be used in place of the morphine, to help her ignore the pain and other problems. Anyway, it's not really any of my business and I won't ask for detail from her family. I was just curious as if this is the usual treatment for someone that is on the verge of passing on.

I know that cancer is a terrible thing, but I can't help wondering if death like this is worse. She was (and still is to some extent) a healthy person. Her body is just slowly shutting down and wasting away.

I think I would prefer something quicker.

RE: Ritilin

"treatment for someone that is on the verge of passing on."

Surely not. What the heck?!!! Is she in the hospice stage? Golly, leave her alone. Morphine is enough. Unless they're giving her Morphine and Ritalin to make her cogent enough to family members, I don't get it??? But then, I'm not a doctor.

I am furious. Hugs to you and to her. That totally sucks eggs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RE: Ritilin

agnespuffin: " I'm thinking that the Ritalin might be used in place of the morphine, to help her ignore the pain and other problems. Anyway, it's not really any of my business and I won't ask for detail from her family."

I'm glad you asked the question, I think it's an important question, it certainly got my attention. I'm not asking you to get involved in the details with the family. It is enough that you brought this to our attention so we can be aware what's going on.

RE: Ritilin

Did a bit of web-searching and it appears to be effective against narcolepsy, and according to Wikipedia:
"MPH is the most commonly prescribed psychostimulant and works by increasing the activity of the central nervous system. It produces such effects as increasing or maintaining alertness, combating fatigue, and improving attention."

So I imagine it's an off-label use to help combat the drowsiness caused by the morphine, which wouldn't be unreasonable in these circumstances.

Knowing a lady of 99 who is under hospice care, at her son's home, I am incredibly impressed by the skill and knowledge of the hospice team: they are far more aware of the benefits to a dying person of various treatments, - including medications - than her own doctor. Their guiding principle is to ensure the person is comfortable and without pain. I have been very moved by their commitment to her, and her family.

RE: Ritilin

Thanks Sara, that does seem to make sense. She is under hospice care now. They come to the house to see that everything is under control. She is alert enough to feed herself, even though she needs to be reminded to do it. Sleeps most of the time.

The Hospice way of thinking is a vast improvement over the usual "do everything you can to keep 'em alive" way of thought.

One of my husband's old golfing buddies was in our local Hospice. A group of his friends got with them and arranged to bring him out for one last visit to see his old buddies tee off. He rode around the course a little, got to chat with those he hadn't seen in a long time. Then back to the Hospice, and, within a few days, the End.
It was something that those men will probably never forget.

RE: Update on ritalin

I managed to ask my son, he knows about such things, about this.

He said that it was being used to make the patient on morphine more alert and active. This would make taking care of the patient easier as he/she wouldn't just be an unresponsive lump in the bed.

However, in this case, the dosage may not have been just right for her physical condition and she reacted badly. There are times when being aware of what's happening, is not a happy time.

So if you are ever in a similar situation, this information may come in handy.

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