Aricept (Donepezil)

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What is Aricept (Donepezil) prescribed for?

Aricept is used to treat the dementia, or rather the confusion that comes with dementia, that is related to Alzheimer’s disease. While it does not cure Alzheimer’s disease, it may improve memory, awareness and the ability to function.  This medication blocks enzymes, and works by restoring the natural substances (neotransmitters) in the brain.

This medication is taken by mouth, with or without food. Often taken once daily, just before bedtime.  However, if you experience sleep problems such as insomnia, talk to your doctor about switching to a morning dose.

If the patient is taking the 23 milligram strength tablet, swallow them whole. Do not split, crush, or chew on these tablets. Doing so may increase the risk of side effects.

Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. To reduce the risk of any side effects, your doctor will start this medication at a lose dose and gradually increase it over the next few weeks or months.

Tell your doctor if you are allergic to donepezil or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems.

Before taking this medication, inform your doctor of you medical history, especially of the following; breathing problems (such a asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) fainting, seizures, stomach/intestinal disease (such as ulcers, and bleeding), trouble  urinating (such as an enlarged prostate)

Donepezil may cause a condition that affects the heart rhythm known as QT prolongation. QT prolongation can rarely cause seriously fast/irregular heartbeats and other symptoms such as dizziness and fainting. Please seek medical attention right away if you are experiencing these symptoms.

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite/weight loss, dizziness, drowsiness, weakness, trouble sleeping, shakiness (tremor), or muscle cramps may occur as your body adjusts to the medication. These effects usually last 1-3 weeks and then lessen. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Tell your doctor right away if any of these serious side effects occur: trouble urinating, severe stomach/abdominal pain, black stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, seizures. And Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: slow/fast/irregular heartbeat, severe dizziness, fainting.

What happens if I suddenly stop taking this medication?

There may be a relapse in symptoms as well as side effects. You should speak your doctor before stop taking this medication.

 

What is the best dosage to take?

The diagnosis with your doctor will be able to determine the best dosage for your treatment. Work with your doctor closely for dosage and dosing schedules.

 

What happens if I miss a dose?

You should take the missed dose as soon you realize you have forgotten. If the forgotten dose is closer to your next scheduled dose, take the next schedule dose to avoid overlapping in dose.

 

What is the best way to store this medication?

This medication is stored at room temperature, and should be kept away from children and pets. Do not throw away this medication in the wastebasket. If you are uncertain how to dispose of this medication speak with your pharmacist for help in safely disposing of this medication.

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