Generically known as Donepezil, the Aricept drug can be used to treat dementia (confusion) associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
How It Works
Acetylcholine is the name of a chemical that plays a key role in processes of the body like thinking, reasoning and memory. Patients with the dementia condition generally have a low level of this chemical, in their system. Donepezil prevents the breakdown of this chemical (by acting as an enzyme blocker), and works by restoring the balance of the neurotransmitters and by improving the nerve cell functions of the brain.
Even though Aricept does not help in curing Alzheimer’s disease, awareness, memory and the ability to function might be enhanced by the use of this medication.
As prescribed by your medical advisor, take this medicine once daily (just before bedtime), by mouth with/without food. He/she might switch the medication to a morning dose, if you get insomnia (sleeping problems).
Make sure to swallow the 23 milligram strength tablets, when you are taking them as crushing or chewing the tablets might result in an increased risk of side effects. The dosage will be based on your response to treatment and medical condition, and the start of it will usually be from a lower dose that will be increased gradually over weeks to months. It is important to stick to the prescribed amounts of the medicine and not to increase the dose or the duration that should be used.
Regular use of Donepezil might be required in order for it to take proper affect and it might take several weeks for the full benefits to become visible. If the conditions are not improved or if they are worsened get your doctor’s advice right away.
Some of the more common side effects when using this medication are as follows, and these effects will usually lessen after 1-3 weeks’ time.
Loss of appetite
Many patients do not have any severe side effects when using this, but if the following serious side effects do occur, take immediate medical advice.
Abdominal pain/ severe stomach pain
Coffee like vomit
Please note that this is not a complete side effects list. So if the above listed effects or any other effects tend to persist or worsen, your doctor should be quickly alerted about the situation.
You might have allergies to Donepezil or any other inactive ingredients in Aricept. If that is the case, your doctor or pharmacist should know about these or any other allergies that you might have before using this medicine.
You should disclose your medical history to him/ her if conditions such as breathing problems, urinating trouble, fainting or seizures are included in it. There is a risk that this drug might make you dizzy/drowsy so refrain from high alert requiring tasks, while on medication.
Immediate medical attention will also be needed if a certain affect occurs in your heartbeat rhythm known as ‘QT prolongation’, which might result in some problems in the heart.
It is not known if Aricept passes onto an infant via breast milk so it is best to take advice from your healthcare provider before breastfeeding.
Your doctor should also be consulted if you are pregnant so you can get a clear idea of the benefits/risks that will be involved when using this medicine.