What is Aricept® (donepezil) used for?
Aricept® improves the function of nerve cells in the brain. It works by preventing the breakdown of a chemical called acetylcholine. People with dementia usually have lower levels of this chemical, which is important for the processes of memory, thinking, and reasoning.
Aricept® is used to treat mild to moderate dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease.
Aricept® is not a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. This condition will progress over time, even in people who take donepezil.
How should I take Aricept® (donepezil)?
Take Aricept® exactly as it was prescribed for you. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
You may take Aricept® with or without food.
Do not crush, chew, or break the regular tablet. Swallow it whole.
To take the orally disintegrating tablet (Aricept ODT):
- Keep the tablet in its blister pack until you are ready to take it. Open the package and peel or cut the backing from the tablet blister. Do not push a tablet through the backing or you may damage the tablet.
- Use dry hands to remove the tablet and place it in your mouth.
- Do not swallow the tablet whole. Allow it to dissolve in your mouth without chewing.
- Swallow several times as the tablet dissolves. After the tablet dissolves completely, drink a glass of water.
If you need surgery or dental work, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using Aricept®. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.
You should not stop using Aricept® without your doctor’s advice.
How do I store Aricept® (donepezil)?
Aricept® is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Aricept® in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Aricept® that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.
You should not flush Aricept® down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Precautions & warnings
What should I know before using Aricept® (donepezil)?
Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
- You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- You have allergy with any of active or inactive ingredients of Aricept® or other medications.
- You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.
Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?
There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using Aricept® during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Aricept®. Aricept® is pregnancy risk category C, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:
- A=No risk
- B=No risk in some studies
- C=There may be some risk
- D=Positive evidence of risk
What side effects can occur from Aricept® (donepezil)?
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Aricept® hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using Aricept® and call your doctor at once if you have:
- Severe or ongoing vomiting
- A light-headed feeling, like you might pass out
- Slow heartbeats
- Seizure (convulsions)
- Painful or difficult urination
- New or worsening breathing problems
- Signs of stomach bleeding–severe heartburn or stomach pain, bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
Common side effects may include:
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle pain
- Sleep problems (insomnia)
- Feeling tired
Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
What drugs may interact with Aricept® (donepezil)?
Aricept® may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.
Products that may interact with this drug are NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) including aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib, diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam, and others.
Does food or alcohol interact with Aricept® (donepezil)?
Aricept® may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.
What health conditions may interact with Aricept® (donepezil)?
Aricept® may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.
Health conditions that may interact with this drug are:
- A heart rhythm disorder
- A history of stomach ulcers
- An enlarged prostate or urination problems
- Liver or kidney disease
- Epilepsy or other seizure disorder
- Trouble swallowing
- Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or other breathing disorder
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using Aricept® (donepezil).
What is the dose of Aricept® (donepezil) for an adult?
Usual Adult Dose for Alzheimer’s Disease:
Initial dose: 5 mg orally once a day, in the evening prior to retiring
Mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease:
- Maintenance dose: 10 mg orally once a day, after the patient has been on an initial dose of 5 mg once a day for 4 to 6 weeks.
Moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease:
- Maintenance dose: 23 mg orally once a day, after the patient has been on a dose of 10 mg once a day for at least 3 months.
What is the dose of Aricept® (donepezil) for a child?
The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How is Aricept® (donepezil) available?
Aricept® is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:
- Tablet, film coated; tablet-orally-disintegrating: donepezil hydrochloride 5mg
What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?
In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of Aricept®, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: August 2, 2017 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019