Aricept (donepezil) is an FDA-approved medication used for the treatment of dementia in Alzheimer’s disease. It contains the active drug donepezil, which belongs to the class of drugs called acetylcholinesterase inhibitors.
Generic name: donepezil
Brand name: Aricept, Aricept ODT
Drug class: Cholinesterase inhibitors
Uses of Aricept
It is used to treat dementia due to mild, moderate, or severe Alzheimer’s disease in adults. It helps slow down the progression of dementia in Alzheimer’s disease.
How To Take Aricept
Take Aricept exactly as directed by your doctor. This drug should not be taken in bigger or smaller doses or for longer than suggested. Aricept can be taken with or without food. The drug should not be crushed, chewed, or broken. It should be swallowed whole.
When taking the orally disintegrating tablet (Aricept ODT):
- Keep the tablet in its blister pack until it’s time to use it. Remove the backing from the tablet blister by peeling or cutting it open. If you force a tablet through the backing, it may become damaged.
- Remove the tablet with dry hands and place it in your mouth.
- The tablet should not be swallowed whole. Allow it to dissolve without chewing in your mouth.
- Swallow the tablet several times as it melts. Drink a glass of water after the tablet has completely dissolved.
If you need surgery or dental work, let your surgeon know you’re taking Aricept ahead of time. You may need to take a break from taking the drug for a while.
You should not stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor. Keep away from moisture and heat. Store at room temperature.
The following side effects can be associated with taking Aricept. They include mild and severe side effects.
Consult your doctor or pharmacist for further information on any potential adverse effects. They can provide you with advice on how to deal with any unpleasant side effects.
Mild side effects include:
Severe side effects include:
- severe nausea and vomiting
- severe diarrhea
- difficulty passing urine
- urinary tract infection (UTI)
- peptic ulcer disease
- GI bleeding
- heart block
- allergic reaction
Severe side effects are uncommon, but they can happen. If you experience any major side effects, contact your doctor at once. If your symptoms are life-threatening or you believe you’re having a medical emergency, dial 911 or your local emergency number.
If you have a heart rhythm abnormality like “sick sinus syndrome” (slow heartbeats), an enlarged prostate, urinary problems, asthma, obstructive lung disease, or a seizure disorder like epilepsy, tell your doctor before using Aricept. If you need surgery, let the surgeon know you’re taking Aricept ahead of time.
Be careful if you drive or do anything else that requires you to be awake and alert as the drug can cause adverse effects that make it difficult to think or react.