Aricept

Generic Name: Donepezil
Brand Names: Aricept

What is Aricept?

Aricept improves the function of nerve cells in the brain. It works by preventing the breakdown of a chemical called acetylcholine (ah see til KO leen). People with dementia usually have lower levels of this chemical, which is important for the processes of memory, thinking, and reasoning.

Aricept is used to treat mild to moderate dementia caused by Alzheimer's disease.

Aricept may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about Aricept?

Before taking Aricept, 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.

If you need to have any type of surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are taking Aricept.

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.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking Aricept?

Do not take Aricept if you are allergic to donepezil.

Before taking Aricept, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • 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; or
  • asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take Aricept.

FDA pregnancy category C. Aricept may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether Aricept passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use Aricept without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

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