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Aricept is the brand name of the medication donepezil. Its main function is to improve the function of nerve cells in the brain through prevention of the chemical acetylcholine. This chemical is usually found in lower levels than normal in Alzheimer’s patients who have dementia. Acetylcholine is an important component in memory, reasoning, and thinking. Aricept is not a cure for Alzheimer’s and the condition will progress with time. The medication is available in regular tablet form, orally disintegrating tablet form, and oral solution.
Take Aricept in an exact manner that your doctor has instructed you to. You should not take smaller or larger doses than recommended without talking to your doctor first.
Aricept may be taken with or without food. The tablets should be stored away from moisture and heat at room temperature.
If you take the regular tablets, swallow it whole without crushing, breaking, or chewing it. If you are prescribed the orally disintegrating tablet you should store it appropriately in its original packaging, take the tablet out of its packaging with clean, dry hands and place it in your mouth. You should not swallow the tablet whole, but allow it to dissolve in your mouth without chewing. After the tablet is fully dissolved, you should swallow multiple times and drink a cup of water.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you are already scheduled to take your next dose shortly, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosage schedule. You should not take a double dose to make up for a missed dose.
It is possible to overdose on Aricept. You should seek immediate emergency medical attention if you suspect that you are experiencing an overdose, or if you experience any of the following overdose symptoms: nausea, drooling, vomiting, light-headedness, blurred vision, shallow breathing, fainting, slow heartbeat, seizures, or muscle weakness. While taking Aricept, you should be cautious while driving, operating heavy machinery, or any other activities that require you being alert as you may find your thinking and reacting capabilities affected by the medication.
Before starting Aricept, be sure to inform your doctor if you have an enlarged prostate, heart rhythm disorder, asthma, urination issues, seizure disorder, or obstructive pulmonary disorder. If you need any type of surgery or dental work, you should inform your doctor or dentist ahead of time as you may need to stop taking the medication temporarily at your doctor’s discretion.
You should not take Aricept if you have an allergy to donepezil or other certain medications. Consult your doctor before taking Aricept if you have experienced some of these symptoms in the past: heart rhythm disorders, stomach ulcers, urination issues or prostate enlargement, seizure disorders, trouble swallowing, kidney or liver disease, asthma or COPD, or any other breathing disorders. It is unknown if Aricept is safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant while taking this medication you should talk to your doctor. Before starting Aricept, you should inform your doctor or any other medications that you take.
Some drugs may interact with donepezil, especially medications such as aspirin, Advil, Motrin, Aleve, celecoxib, indomethacin, diclofenac, meloxicam, and more. Other medications may interact with Aricept, including prescribed medications, over-the-counter medications, herbal products, and vitamins. Disclose any other medications that you are taking to your doctor to ensure they are safe to take with Aricept. There are over 800 known drug interactions with donepezil ranging from mild to severe. If you suspect that you are experiencing an allergic reaction to Aricept you should seek emergency medical help.
Symptoms of allergic reactions may include the following: breathing trouble, hives, and swelling of the lips, throat, tongue or face. If you experience certain severe symptoms you should stop using Aricept and call your doctor at once. These symptoms may include some of the following: severe or ongoing vomiting, slow heartbeat, lightheadedness or feeling like you may lose conciseness, seizures, difficult or painless urination, new or worsening breathing issues, or signs of stomach bleeding including bloody or tarry stools, stomach pain, severe heartburn, coughing up blood, or vomiting up substances that look like coffee grounds.
Remember to keep all medications out of the reach of animals and children. Never share your medications with others and only use Aricept for the reason prescribed.
You may experience some side effects of varying intensity while taking Aricept.
Common side effects of Aricept may include:
Less common side effects of Aricept may include:
You may want to speak to your doctor if you experience rare side effects such as: cataracts, fever, hives, irregular heartbeat, delusions, nervousness, tightness in chest, or trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. If you have any questions about possible side effects or required medical advice consult your doctor.