Donepezil (By mouth)


Donepezil (doe-NEP-e-zil)

Treats symptoms of Alzheimer's disease such as confusion or dementia (memory loss and mental changes).

Brand Name(s)

Aricept, Aricept ODT

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

How to Use This Medicine

Liquid, Tablet, Dissolving Tablet

  • Take your medicine as directed.
  • Take this medicine at bedtime, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
  • You may take this medicine with or without food.
  • Swallow the tablet whole. Do not crush, break, or chew it.
  • Make sure your hands are dry before you handle the disintegrating tablet. Peel back the foil from the blister pack, then remove the tablet. Do not push the tablet through the foil. Place the tablet in your mouth. After it has melted, swallow or take a drink of water.
  • Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.

If a dose is missed:

  • Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using bethanechol (Urecholine®), dicyclomine (Bentyl®), glycopyrrolate (Robinul®), ketoconazole (Nizoral®), oxybutynin (Ditropan®), hyoscyamine, ipratropium (Atrovent®), orphenadrine (Flexor®, Norflex®), quinidine (Quinaglute®), scopolamine (Transderm-Scop®), tolterodine (Detrol®), or trospium (Sanctura®).
  • Tell your doctor if you are using carbamazepine (Tegretol®), dexamethasone, phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin®), or rifampin (Rifadin®, Rimactane®). Make sure your doctor knows if you are using a pain or arthritis medicine (sometimes called "NSAIDs") such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, Advil®, Aleve®, Bextra®, Celebrex®, Ecotrin®, or Motrin®.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have liver disease, heart disease, lung disease, seizures, stomach ulcers, trouble urinating, or if your have a low body weight (below 50 kilograms or 110 pounds). Tell your doctor if you have a history of asthma or other breathing problems.
  • Some people who have used this medicine developed problems such as nausea, severe vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and weight loss. Talk with your doctor before using this medicine if you have any concerns.
  • Tell you doctor right away if you have bloody or black, tarry stools; constipation; severe stomach pain; or vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds. These may be symptoms of stomach or bowel bleeding.
  • Tell any doctor or dentist who treats you that you are using this medicine. You may need to stop using this medicine several days before you have surgery or medical tests.
  • Your doctor will check your progress and the effects of this medicine at regular visits. Keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Bloody or black, tarry stools.
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate.
  • Chest pain, slow or uneven heartbeat.
  • Lightheadedness or fainting.
  • Seizures.
  • Severe stomach pain.
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness.
  • Vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Headache, depression, restlessness, or irritability.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • Mild nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Muscle or joint pain.
  • Sweating or increased thirst.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Unusual tiredness or cold feeling.
  • Warmth or redness in your face, neck, arms, or upper chest.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 8/4/2014

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