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Donepezil

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Donepezil Hydrochloride Aricept Adult

Donepezil - What is it for

​Donepezil is commonly used for dementia in Alzheimer's disease. It can help to slow down the progression of memory loss and stabilize memory function for a period of time. However, it does not reverse the disease nor provide a cure for dementia. 

It may be given to you for other reasons. Do check with your doctor what you are taking this for.

Donepezil - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Donepezil cause?

Potential side effects

All medications may cause side effects. However, many people do not experience them.

Most of the side effects listed here will improve with time. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if they persist, become bothersome or worsen.

 

Side effectsWhat to do about it
Poor appetite, nausea, vomitingTake the medication after meals. Eat small but frequent meals to minimize bloating after a meal. Avoid food that is too rich, spicy or has strong smells.
DiarrhoeaMake sure you remain well hydrated by drinking plenty of water
HeadacheConsult your doctor or pharmacist if you need any painkillers
Drowsiness

Do not drive or operate any machinery.

Discuss with your doctor if you can take your medication at a different time of the day. 

DizzinessGet up slowly from a lying or sitting position
Insomnia

Avoid daytime naps. Limit caffeine intake. Keep a regular sleeping schedule. Instead of looking at electronic screens before bedtime, choose other relaxing activities such as reading a book or listening to calm music.

Discuss with your doctor if you can take your medication at a different time of the day. 

Muscle crampsConsult your doctor if it becomes bothersome
Loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence)There may be other causes for this condition. Consult your doctor for further information.

Serious side effects

Seek medical help as soon as possible if you have any of the following signs or symptoms.

  • Allergy such as rashes, swelling of lips/face/throat, difficulty breathing
  • Muscle pain, dark urine, fever

Take note that the side effects listed here are not exhaustive. Do seek medical attention if you have other symptoms that you think may be related to the medication.

Before taking Donepezil, what precautions must I follow?

​What do I need to tell my doctor before I take this medication?

  • Drug allergies
  • Pre-existing medical conditions such as heart problems, slow heartbeat, fits (seizures) and stomach ulcers
  • Whether you are taking any other medications, supplements or traditional medicines. Some of them may affect how this medication works.

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Donepezil?

​This medicine may interact with a number of medicines. Inform your doctor if you are taking other medicines or supplements.

Donepezil - Dosage and How to Use

How should Donepezil be used?

​Take the medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the instructions on the medication label or as advised by the pharmacist.

Take Donepezil after food to minimize stomach discomfort.

Orodispersible tablets

If you are taking the orodispersible tablets:

  • The tablet dissolves once it is placed inside your mouth
  • Make sure your hands are dry before handling the tablet as it dissolves easily upon contact with water
  • Do not remove the tablets too early from the blister pack

 

This medication may not have an effect immediately. It may take up to a few weeks before the medication can exert its full effects. Continue taking it regularly to benefit from it even if you feel well.

Check with your doctor on the duration of treatment that is suitable for you.

Do not stop taking the medication abruptly or change the dose without consulting your doctor.

Avoid taking alcohol while you are on this medication.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

  • Take the missed dose as soon as you remember, with a meal. However, if it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next one at your usual timing.
  • Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.

What should I do if I overdose?

​If you take  more of this medicine then prescribed by your doctor, please consult your doctor immediately

Donepezil - Handling

How should I handle Donepezil safely?

Donepezil - Storage

How should I store Donepezil?

Keep away from children;#Keep in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight;#

How should I dispose of Donepezil safely?

​Throw away any unused or expired medicines. Inform your medical professional with respect to how to safely dispose of any excess medicines/expired medicines.

Donepezil - Additional Information

​What are the things I need to know or look out for while on this medication?

  • Avoid driving or any other activities that requires concentration until you see how this drug affects you
  • Inform your other healthcare professionals that you are on this medication as well.
  • Discuss with your doctor or pharmacist before you take any other medications or natural products
  • Do not share your medications with others
  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about your medication
  • Updated on Friday, November 2, 2018
  • Article contributed by Changi General Hospital Changi General Hospital

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