Aricept – Information, Uses, Side Effects and Dosage

aricept information uses side effects and dosage

Drug Trade Name: Aricept, Aricept ODT

Category: Cholinesterase Inhibitors 

Generic Name: Donepezil

Introduction and Quick Information:


Aricept is used to treat dementia which is caused by Alzheimer’s disease by improving the function of nerve cells. People suffering from this disease experience constant memory loss and degeneration of nerve cells. Aricept fastens the breakdown of acetylcholine, the chemical that plays a major role in processes like thinking, memorizing, and reasoning.  

Is It Approved by U.S. FDA?

Aricept was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA) in 1996. 

Usage and Benefits of Aricept:

Aricept is used for the treatment of the memory loss caused because of Alzheimer’s disease called dementia. However, remember that the drug can only help in preventing dementia caused by Alzheimer’s and not the disease itself. It can take about 12 weeks for the medicine to show effects. However, the response time of the drug can vary depending on the degree of disease, i.e. mild to moderate.

Side Effects of Aricept:

Use of Aricept can cause various side-effects such as:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fainting
  • Vision problems
  • Depression
  • Irregular/slow heartbeat
  • Trouble with urination
  • Rashes
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Trouble in breathing
  • Bloody, black or tarry stool
  • Blood in cough or vomit
  • Seizure
  • Tiredness

However, this isn’t necessary that these are the only side-effects observed by a person taking Aricept. Thus, it is advised to call for immediate medical assistance if you observe any kind of discomfort when taking the drug.

General Recommended Dosages of Aricept:

Only the recommended dosage prescribed by your doctor should be taken. Do not consume in smaller or larger amounts as it can be fatal. Also, it is advised to ignore the instructions printed on the drug label.

It should be taken once in a day, right before bedtime. Also, don’t swallow the whole Aricept tablet. Just put the tablet in your mouth and let it disintegrate on your tongue. After this consume some water. Moreover, It isn’t necessary to consume it along with meals and can also be consumed without them. Remember that your hands are dry when you take the tablet out of the blister pack. 

In Case I Miss the Dose?


The missed dose can be taken as soon as you remember. But do not take the skipped dose if it’s the time to take next scheduled dose. You should not take any extra dose to make up for the skipped one.

In Case I Take Overdose?

If an extra dose of medication has been taken you are supposed to call for immediate medical attention. Symptoms of overdosing can include blurred vision, severe nausea, drooling, vomiting, slow heartbeat, sweating, fainting or seizure.

Drug Interactions of Aricept:

Before taking Aricept you should make sure that your doctor is informed about all the prescribed and non-prescribed medications that you are consuming. This is because the drug can interact with various other drugs and the results can be harmful. Some of the drugs that can cause harmful interactions with Aricept are listed below:

  • Carbamazepine (Carbatrol)
  • Dicyclomine (Bentyl)
  • Belladonna (Belladonna Tincture)
  • Hyoscyamine (Anaspaz)
  • Dexamethasone (Baycadron)
  • Glycopyrrolate (Robinul)
  • Mepenzolate (Cantil)
  • Methscopolamine (Pamine)
  • Scopolamine (Maldemar)
  • Fungal antibiotics like ketoconazole (Nizoral), fluconazole (Diflucan), or itraconazole (Onmel).
  • Rifampin (Rifadin)
  • Phenobarbital (Luminal)

However, there are various other drugs that can interact with Aricept, thus, it is advised to inform your doctor about all the medications that you are consuming so that they can properly inform you about all the drug interactions.

How Safe Is Aricept for Pregnant Women or Nursing Mothers?

Aricept lies in the U.S. FDA pregnancy category C, i.e. animal studies have been conducted on the use of Aricept in pregnancy but there were no clear results. Also, there have been no studies conducted on the use of Aricept in pregnant women.

Moreover, when it comes to nursing mothers, it is advised to breastfeed the child with caution while taking Aricept as there are no proofs for its excretion in the breast milk.

Possible Complications and Conditions Due to Prolonged Use of Aricept:

Aricept should only be consumed for the period recommended by the doctor. Prolonged consumption can be habit forming and can even cause various side-effects.

Availability of Aricept:

Aricept can be bought from any government or U.S. FDA approved drug store. It can also be bought online but it is advised to only use official sites for purchase.