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What is Aricept Used For 

Donepezil is Aricept generic name, which belongs to the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor class. Aricept mechanism of action is to bind reversibly to acetylcholinesterase and inhibit hydrolysis of acetylcholine to increase the availability of acetylcholine at the synapse to enhance cholinergic transmission. This medication is prescribed to reduce symptoms of dementia in Alzheimer’s disease, but it does not cure it; it improves memory, awareness, and the ability to function. Dementia is caused by several complex brain disorders characterized by impaired intellectual functioning that interferes with daily activities like memory loss, language difficulty, decreased perception, and impaired reasoning.  

This medicine prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine to increase its concentration to improve communications between remaining healthy nerve cells in the brain, thus enhancing mental functions. Efficacy of this medication has been demonstrated in patients with mild to moderate and severe Alzheimer’s disease. 

Aricept Dosing 

Aricept is a prescription drug based on the patient’s medical condition; the dose starts at the lowest and is gradually increased over weeks to months to reduce the risks of side effects like nausea and diarrhea. Before taking this medicine, tell your doctor all the other medications you are taking, including prescriptions and non-prescription supplements and herbal medicines, to see if they can still be continued.  

Aricept is available in 5 mg, 10 mg, and 23 mg tablets; take the 23 mg orally whole; it is not advisable to cut or crush it for it has an extended-release mechanism; the 5 mg or 10 mg can be cut or crushed if troubled in swallowing whole tablets. It is usually taken once before bedtime; if insomnia is experienced, your doctor may switch you to a morning dose. The usual prescription is listed below; follow how it is instructed if prescribed differently. 

  • Mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease – starting dose is 5mg once before bedtime for 4 to 6 weeks and can be adjusted to 10mg once before bedtime. 
  • Moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease – starting dose is 5mg once before bedtime for 4 to 6 weeks, then adjusted to 10mg once before bedtime for 3 months and can be adjusted to 23mg once before bedtime.  

Regular use of Aricept can help attain the most benefit; take it at the same time every night; if a dose is missed, skip it and proceed to take the next tablet on the following schedule, do not take two doses to catch up for double dosing is discouraged. If you stop intake for seven or more days, talk to your doctor first before resuming, for you may be asked to start again to a low dose to reduce the risk of side effects. 

 The other form of this medication is called Aricept ODT (orally disintegrating tablet), available in 5mg and 10 mg, which is bioequivalent to Aricept 5mg and 10g tablets. This one melts into the mouth and should be followed by a glass of water after the tablet dissolves. 

Aricept Side Effects 

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, dizziness, drowsiness, weakness, trouble sleeping, tremor, and muscle cramps may be experienced as the body adjust to the medication. These effects last within 1 to 3 weeks and should be lessened; tell your doctor promptly if they persist or worsen. Take note that the side effects listed here are not the complete list. 

Serious side effects may also occur; if any of the listed below is experienced, tell your doctor immediately: 

  • Trouble urinating 
  • Stomach pain 
  • Black stool 
  • Vomit that looks like coffee grounds 
  • Seizures 

Get medical help right away if irregular heartbeat, severe dizziness, fainting, and severe allergic reaction with symptoms of rash, swelling, and troubled breathing are experienced. 

Namenda and Aricept 

Both medications treat dementia associated with Alzheimer’s disease, but they contain different active ingredients and work differently. Aricept has donepezil hydrochloride, a cholinesterase inhibitor available in tablet and ODT taken once a day and works by blocking the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine to increase the concentration of acetylcholine that floats around the brain.  

Namenda is an NMDA receptor antagonist available in pill, liquid, and extended-release tablets, which contains memantine hydrochloride; it is called neuroprotective. It restores the function of neurons to improve dementia symptoms. Namenda can treat Alzheimer’s disease dementia but does not work well in early symptoms but has fewer adverse effects. In contrast, Aricept works on most forms of Alzheimer’s disease and can also be used in dementia associated with Parkinson’s and Lewy body disease, but high doses may result in nausea and vomiting. Aricept is more affordable than Namenda, but both medications are proven effective and safe; your doctor will be the one to decide which is better for your condition. 

Additional information

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Other Names:

Aricep, Aricep SR, Donepezil


10mg, 23mg

Quantities Available:

30, 84, 90, 100