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Donepezil

Generic Name: donepezil (oral) (doe NEP e zil)
Brand Name: Aricept, Aricept ODT

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Feb 8, 2019 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is donepezil?

Donepezil is used to help improve mental function in people with Alzheimer's disease.

Donepezil does not work the same in all people. Some people taking donepezil have improved mental function, while others may have unchanged or even worsening mental function.

Donepezil is not a cure for Alzheimer's disease. This condition will progress over time, even in people who take donepezil.

Donepezil may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use donepezil if you are allergic to donepezil or certain other drugs. Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medicines.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • a heart rhythm disorder;

  • a stomach ulcer;

  • urination problems;

  • asthma or other breathing disorder;

  • liver or kidney disease;

  • a seizure; or

  • trouble swallowing tablets.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

How should I take donepezil?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

You may take donepezil with or without food.

Swallow the regular tablet whole and do not crush, chew, or break it.

Remove an orally disintegrating tablet from the package only when you are ready to take the medicine. Place the tablet in your mouth and allow it to dissolve, 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 or dentist ahead of time that you are using donepezil. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.

You should not stop using donepezil without your doctor's advice.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Skip the missed dose and use your next dose at the regular time. Do not use two doses at one time.

If you miss your doses for more than 7 days in a row, call your doctor before taking the medicine again.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include severe nausea, vomiting, drooling, sweating, blurred vision, feeling light-headed, slow heartbeat, shallow breathing, muscle weakness, fainting, or seizure (convulsions).

What should I avoid while taking donepezil?

Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how donepezil will affect you. Your reactions could be impaired.

Donepezil side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • slow heartbeats;

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

  • new or worsening stomach pain, heartburn, nausea, or vomiting;

  • a seizure;

  • painful or difficult urination;

  • new or worsening breathing problems; or

  • signs of stomach bleeding--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); or

  • feeling tired.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Donepezil dosing information

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

Comments: A higher dose of 10 mg may or may not provide a statistically significantly greater clinical benefit than a 5 mg dose. Prescriber and patient's preference should be considered.

Uses: For mild, moderate, and severe Alzheimer's type dementia

What other drugs will affect donepezil?

Ask your doctor before taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam, and others. Using an NSAID with donepezil may increase your risk of stomach ulcer.

Other drugs may affect donepezil, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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