Aricept

donepezil

By Eisai Medical Research

What is this medication for?

Donepezil belongs to the family of medications called cholinesterase inhibitors. This medication is used to treat people with mild, moderate, and severe Alzheimer's disease. Donepezil does not cure Alzheimer's disease. It works in the brain to improve thinking, memory, attention, and the ability to do simple tasks.

Although the exact cause of Alzheimer's disease is not well understood, it is thought to involve the degeneration of certain nerve cells in the brain that make a chemical called acetylcholine. This chemical is thought to be important for the processes of learning and memory. Donepezil prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine, thereby increasing its levels in the brain.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Aricept® is available as:

  • tablets
    • 5 mg
    • 10 mg
Some medications may have other generic brands available. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist about the safety of switching between brands of the same medication.

How should I use this medication?

Mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease: The recommended initial dose of donepezil is 5 mg once daily. If the response is not adequate after 4 to 6 weeks, your doctor may increase the dose to 10 mg daily.

Moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease: The recommended initial dose of donepezil is 5 mg once daily. If the response is not adequate after 4 to 6 weeks, your doctor may increase the dose to 10 mg daily. The dose may be increased to 23 mg once daily after at least 3 months of 10 mg once daily.

The medication should be taken in the evening before bed, and it can be taken with or without food. Allow the orally-disintegrating tablet to dissolve on the tongue and follow with water.

Aricept 23 mg tablets should be swallowed whole. Do not split, crush, or chew the tablets.

ARICEPT ODT melts on the tongue. Drink some water after the tablet melts.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, just wait. Take the next dose at the usual time. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

If ARICEPT is missed for 7 days or more, talk with your doctor before re-starting this medication.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not take this medication if you:

  • are allergic to donepezil or any ingredients of the medication
  • are allergic to piperidine-type medications
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The contents of this health site are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition.

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