Generic Name: donepezil (doe-NEP-e-zil)
Brand Name: Aricept
Donepezil is used for:
Treating dementia (eg, impairment of memory, judgment, and abstract thinking; changes in personality) in patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer disease.
Donepezil is a cholinesterase inhibitor. It works by increasing the amount of a certain substance (acetylcholine) in the brain, which may help reduce the symptoms of dementia in patients with Alzheimer disease.
Do NOT use donepezil if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in donepezil or to another piperidine derivative
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using donepezil:
Some medical conditions may interact with donepezil. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have a history of certain heart problems (eg, fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; sick sinus syndrome), stomach or bowel problems (eg, ulcer, blockage), liver or kidney problems, lung or breathing problems (eg, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD]), muscle problems, low thyroid hormone levels, or urinary blockage
- if you have brain lesions or tumors, increased pressure in the brain, a recent head injury, or a history of seizures (eg, epilepsy)
- if you have Parkinson disease, trouble swallowing tablets, or metabolism problems
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with donepezil. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (eg, ibuprofen) because the risk of stomach or bowel bleeding may be increased
- Cholinergic agents (eg, bethanechol), cholinesterase inhibitors (eg, galantamine), ketoconazole, or quinidine because they may increase the risk of donepezil's side effects
- Carbamazepine, dexamethasone, phenobarbital, phenytoin, or rifampin because they may decrease donepezil's effectiveness
- Anticholinergics (eg, scopolamine) because their effectiveness may be decreased by donepezil
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if donepezil may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use donepezil:
Use donepezil as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- An extra patient leaflet is available with donepezil. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
- Take donepezil by mouth in the evening right before bed, unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Take donepezil with or without food.
- Swallow donepezil whole. Do not break, crush, or chew before swallowing.
- Take donepezil on a regular schedule to get the most benefit from it.
- Taking donepezil at the same time each day will help you remember to take it.
- Continue to take donepezil even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.
- If you miss a dose of donepezil, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once. Contact your doctor if you miss several doses (7 or more days) of donepezil. You may need to restart your medicine at a lower dose to avoid side effects.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use donepezil.
Important safety information:
- Donepezil may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or fainting. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use donepezil with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
- Do NOT take more than the recommended dose, change your dose, or stop taking donepezil without checking with your doctor.
- Donepezil is not a cure for Alzheimer disease. Alzheimer disease will get worse over time in all patients who have it.
- Tell your doctor or dentist that you take donepezil before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
- Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) is a possibly fatal syndrome that can be caused by donepezil. Symptoms may include fever; stiff muscles; confusion; abnormal thinking; fast or irregular heartbeat; and sweating. Contact your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms.
- Use donepezil with caution in patients who weigh less than 55 kg (121 lbs); they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially nausea, vomiting, and weight loss.
- Donepezil should not be used in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of taking donepezil while you are pregnant. It is not known if donepezil is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking donepezil. Donepezil is not approved for use in women who may be breast-feeding.
Possible side effects of donepezil:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Diarrhea; dizziness; loss of appetite; muscle cramps; nausea; tiredness; trouble sleeping; vomiting; weight loss.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); bloody or black, tarry stools; chest pain; dark urine; decreased, difficult, or painful urination; fainting; fever; flu-like symptoms (eg, headache, muscle aches, tiredness); mood or mental problems (eg, depression); muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness; new or worsening breathing problems (eg, shortness of breath); seizures; severe dizziness or headache; severe or persistent heartburn or stomach pain; slow or irregular heartbeat; swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet; tremor; unusual bruising; unusual tiredness or weakness; vomit that looks like blood or coffee grounds.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.Proper storage of donepezil:
Store donepezil at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep donepezil out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about donepezil, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Donepezil is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take donepezil or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about donepezil. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to donepezil. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using donepezil.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.