Aricept (Donepezil)




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Aricept Generic Info, Use and Side Effects

Chemical Name DONEPEZIL (doh-NEP-eh-zil)

ARICEPT is used to treat the symptoms of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease by improving the function of nerve cells in the brain. It works by preventing the breakdown of a chemical called acetylcholine. People with dementia usually have lower levels of this chemical, which is important for the processes of memory, thinking, and reasoning.

Note: ARICEPT will not cure Alzheimer’s disease, and it will not stop the disease from getting worse.


Take ARICEPT exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.

ARICEPT is usually taken at bedtime and can be taken with or without food or milk. Take the tablets with a full glass of water.

Keep the tablet in its tightly closed container until you are ready to take the medicine. Using dry hands obtain the tablet and place it in your mouth. It will begin to dissolve right away. Do not swallow the tablet whole. Allow it to dissolve in your mouth without chewing. Swallow several times as the tablet dissolves. After the tablet dissolves completely, drink a glass of water.


Before using ARICEPT, patients should be aware of some essential safety information. Please see below:

  • tell your doctor if you have a heart rhythm disorder such as “sick sinus syndrome” (slow heartbeats), an enlarged prostate, urination problems, asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease, or a seizure disorder such as epilepsy.
  • inform your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking ARICEPT because it can cause heart defects or serious lung problems in a newborn if you take the medication during pregnancy
  • Inform your surgeon that you are taking ARICEPT if you need to have any type of surgery
  • ARICEPT can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert

To make sure you can safely take ARICEPT, tell your doctor if you have any of these conditions:

  • are allergic to donepezil or any other chemical contained in this medication
  • a heart rhythm disorder such as “sick sinus syndrome” (slow heartbeats)
  • a history of stomach ulcers
  • an enlarged prostate or urination problems
  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder
  • asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Side Effects

Side effects may vary for each individual depending on the person’s disease state, age, weight, gender, ethnicity and general health. When side effects of a drug or medication are severe, the dosage may be adjusted or a second medication may be prescribed. Lifestyle or dietary changes may also help to minimize side effects. Patients can usually find the complete list of side effects with their medication.

Serious side effects of ARICEPT may include:

  • allergic reaction including hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • black, bloody, or tarry stools
  • coughing up blood or vomit that looks like blood or coffee grounds
  • painful or difficult urination
  • seizure (black-out or convulsions)

Common serious side effects of ARICEPT may include:

  • nausea or vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle cramps
  • tired feeling
  • sleep problems (insomnia)

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about additional side effects or any side effect that bothers you or that do not go away.