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What Is Donepezil

What Is Donepezil

Descriptions

Donepezil is used to treat dementia (memory loss and mental changes) associated with mild, moderate, or severe Alzheimer's disease. Donepezil will not cure Alzheimer's disease, and it will not stop the disease from getting worse. However, it can improve thinking ability in some patients.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

This product is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Tablet, Disintegrating
  • Tablet

Proper Use

Take this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor in order to improve your condition as much as possible. Do not take more of it or less of it, and do not take it more or less often than your doctor ordered.

Donepezil should be taken at bedtime unless otherwise directed by your doctor. It may be taken with or without food, on a full or empty stomach.

Swallow the tablet whole. Do not crush, break, or chew it.

For patients using the oral disintegrating tablet form of this medicine:

  • Make sure your hands are dry.
  • Do not push the tablet through the foil backing of the package. Instead, gently peel back the foil backing and remove the tablet.
  • Immediately place the tablet on top of the tongue.
  • Do not swallow the tablet whole. The tablet will dissolve in seconds, and you may swallow it with your saliva. You should drink a glass of water after the tablet has dissolved.

How it works

Donepezil belongs to a class of drugs called acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

People with Alzheimer’s disease have low amounts of a chemical in the brain called acetylcholine. Low levels of this chemical can cause dementia, or problems with mental function or doing daily tasks. Donepezil works by preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine. This can help decrease the symptoms of dementia.

Donepezil side effects

Donepezil oral tablet doesn’t cause drowsiness, but it can cause other side effects.

More common side effects

The more common side effects that can occur with donepezil include:

  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • not sleeping well
  • vomiting
  • muscle cramps
  • tiredness
  • not wanting to eat or having a poor appetite
  • bruising
  • weight loss

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Slow heart rate and fainting
  • Stomach ulcers and bleeding, symptoms can include:
  • heartburn
  • stomach pain that won’t go away
  • nausea or vomiting
  • blood in your vomit, or dark-colored vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • bowel movements that look like black tar
  • Worsening of lung problems in people with asthma or other lung diseases
  • Seizures
  • Trouble urinating

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

Storage

Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.

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