Donepezil is used to treat dementia (a brain disorder that affects the ability to remember, think clearly, communicate, and perform daily activities and may cause changes in mood and personality) in people who have Alzheimer's disease (AD; a brain disease that slowly destroys the memory and the ability to think, learn, communicate and handle daily activities). Donepezil is in a class of medications called cholinesterase inhibitors. It improves mental function (such as memory, attention, and the ability to interact with others, speak, think clearly, and perform regular daily activities) by increasing the amount of a certain naturally occurring substance in the brain. Donepezil may improve the ability to think and remember or slow the loss of these abilities in people who have AD. However, donepezil will not cure AD or prevent the loss of mental abilities at some time in the future.
Donepezil comes as a tablet and an orally disintegrating tablet (tablet that dissolves quickly in the mouth) to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day with or without food, in the evening just before bedtime. Take donepezil at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take donepezil exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor. If you are taking the 23-milligram strength tablets, swallow them whole. Do not split, crush, or chew these tablets. Doing so can increase the risk of side effects.
It is important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. This is necessary to allow dose adjustments and to reduce any unwanted effects.
Before you have any kind of surgery, dental treatment, or emergency treatment, tell the medical doctor or dentist in charge that you are using this medicine. Taking donepezil together with certain medicines that are used during surgery or dental or emergency treatments may increase the effects of those medicines and cause unwanted effects.
Contact Doctor or medical help if any of these serious side effects occur: trouble urinating, severe stomach/abdominal pain, black stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, seizures or slow/fast/irregular heartbeat, severe dizziness, fainting.
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite/weight loss, dizziness, drowsiness, weakness, trouble sleeping, shakiness (tremor), or muscle cramps may occur as your body adjusts to the drug. These effects usually last 1-3 weeks and then lessen. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug can include rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
How does the drug donepezil Aricept work?
Aricept is an oral medication taken once daily that stops the breakdown of acetylcholine, a brain chemical that helps nerve cells communicate with one another. It's part of a class of drugs known as cholinesterase inhibitors.
Can I take an Aricept 23mg (SR) tablet without food?
Aricept 23mg (SR) tablet can be taken with or without food once daily in the evening before bedtime. Aricept 23mg must be swallowed whole and should not be split, crushed or chewed. The tablets need to be intact to be absorbed correctly.
Can I drink alcohol while I am taking Aricept?
Patients who take Aricept should not drink alcohol because the combination of alcohol and Aricept may increase sedation and drowsiness and the sedative effects of alcohol may act as a depressant, obscuring the therapeutic effects and complicating treatment.