Aricept (Donepezil): Medicine for Alzheimer’s Disease?

Aricept: Brand Name

Donepezil: Generic Name

Aricept (Donepezil): Medicine:Overview

Aricept is a medicine used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in the earlier stages of the disease process. It is not a cure but may offer some improvements in an individual’s memory, language skills, attention, and ability to perform normal activities of daily living. Aricept is a medicine that is usually prescribed in the earlier stages for what is usually referred to as mild or moderate dementia. The generic form of Aricept, donepezil has been approved by the FDA. In order to receive the best price on Aricept at your local pharmacy ask for the generic form, donepezil.

Aricept (donepezil) medicine information your doctor needs to know:

In order to prescribe this medicine for Alzheimer’s disease, your doctor needs to know if you have any of the following conditions:

• if you’re breast-feeding, pregnant or trying to get pregnant
• if you have any allergies to this medicine or any other medicines, foods, dyes or preservatives
• if you have any stomach ulcers and bleeding or stomach or intestinal disease
• if you have severe headaches
• seizures or convulsions
• Parkinson’s disease
• low blood pressure
• liver problems or disease
• heart disease or problems associated with heart rhythm
• any head injury
• difficulties passing urine

How is this medicine usually taken?

Aricept (donepezil) is in a tablet form and is taken by mouth. These tablets should be taken with a glass of water or may be taken with food. Always follow the dosing routine prescribed by your doctor. This medicine is frequently taken before bedtime and should never be taken more often or less than the recommended frequency. It should continue to be taken even if symptoms get better. You should never quit taking this medicine unless your physician tells you to. You should contact the pediatrician to find out if this medication can or should be used for children.

Aricept (donepezil) dosage;

Aricept (donepezil) dosage for mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease:
For adults, the usual starting dosage is 5 mg once a day. Your doctor may then increase your dosage as necessary or appropriate.

Aricept (donepezil) dosage for severe Alzheimer’s disease:

The usual dosage for severe Alzheimer’s disease for adults is 10 mg once a day. Sometimes a dosage of 10 mg a day is also used for maintenance for individuals with severe Alzheimer’s disease. Your dosage will be adjusted by your doctor according to your own individual needs.

If you miss a dose of your medicine, you should take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose you should only take the upcoming dose. You should never take extra dosages or double up on your medicine.

Side effects of Aricept (donepezil):

Side effects may occur with the use of this medicine. If you notice any Aricept side effects you need to report them to your doctor immediately. Some of the main side effects can include:

• weight loss
• vomiting
• unusual bruising or bleeding or red or purple spots on the skin
• uncontrollable movements
• sweating
• stomach pain
• heart palpitations or slow heartbeat
• hives or a skin rash
• agitation, increased confusion or nervousness
• fainting, falls or dizziness
• severe diarrhea
• changes in vision or balance

Some of the following Aricept side effects usually don’t require medical treatment but should be reported to your doctor if they continue or seem to be problematic:

• muscle cramping
• pain in the joints
• nausea
• limited or loss of appetite
• heartburn or indigestion
• headache
• drowsiness
• mild diarrhea

Is there anything else that may interact negatively with donepezil?

You should tell your doctor about all medications you are taking including nonprescription medicines, herbal products and nutritional supplements. Also, you should tell your doctor if you are a frequent user of drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke or use any illegal drugs. These can have an effect on how your medicine works. You should also consult with your healthcare practitioner prior to discontinuing or reducing any of your medications. Some of the following medications may interact negatively with Aricept:

• some antidepressants such as fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline
• some antibiotics such as erythromycin and clarithromycin
• some diabetes drugs
• atropine
• benztropine
• bosentan
• carbamazepine
• dexamethasone
• dicyclomine
• digoxin
• galantamine
• glycopyrrolate
• hyoscyamine
• Ipratropium
• Itraconazole or ketoconazole
• medications for motion sickness
• medicines for treating HIV infection or AIDS
• muscle relaxers for surgery
• modafinil
• nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen
• oxybutynin
• phenytoin
• phenobarbital
• propantheline
• quinidine
• rifampin, rifabutin, rifapentine
• rivastigmine
• St. John’s wort
• tacrine
• trihexyphenidyl

Where should I store Aricept?

Aricept may be stored at room temperature between 15° and 30°C (59° and 86°F). You should always keep it out of the reach of children. Always throw away any unused medications after the date of expiration.

Some final words about Aricept (donezepil) medicine for Alzheimer’s disease:

Aricept is a medicine that has been found to assist in delaying the gradual deterioration associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. However, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and only an experienced clinician can help to determine whether you or your loved one has Alzheimer’s or some other type of dementia that may be assisted with Aricept (donezepil).

Some information adapted by Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist from the AARP Guide to Pills by Maryanne Hochadel PharmD BCPS, (editor-in-chief)

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