Aricept is a brand-name prescription drug. The FDA has approved it to treat dementia due to mild, moderate, or severe Alzheimer’s disease in adults. Dementia is a decline in cognitive (brain) function.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition that affects the brain. It’s called a progressive condition because the symptoms, usually mild at first, get worse over time.

Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. But Aricept may help slow progression of dementia symptoms in some people.

Drug details

Aricept contains the active drug donepezil, which belongs to a drug class called acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. It comes as a tablet that you’ll typically take by mouth once in the evening, just before going to bed.

Aricept is available in three strengths: 5 milligrams (mg), 10 mg, and 23 mg.

Effectiveness

For information about the effectiveness of Aricept, see the “Aricept uses” section below.

Aricept is a brand-name drug that contains the active drug donepezil. This active drug is also available as a generic medication. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication.

The generic is considered to be as safe and effective as the original drug. Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

If you’re interested in using the generic form of Aricept, talk with your doctor. They can tell you if it comes in forms and strengths that can be used for your condition.

Aricept can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Aricept. These lists do not include all possible side effects.

For more information about the possible side effects of Aricept, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to deal with any side effects that may be concerning or bothersome.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Aricept, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects* of Aricept can include:

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or weeks. But if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* This is a partial list of mild side effects from Aricept. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or view Aricept’s prescribing information.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Aricept aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

  • Serious digestive side effects, such as:
    • severe nausea and vomiting
    • severe diarrhea
  • Urination problems, such as difficulty passing urine and urinary tract infection (UTI). UTI symptoms can include:
    • pain or burning while urinating
    • frequent urination
    • cloudy or bloody urine
  • Increased stomach acid, which can cause stomach ulcers or bleeding. Symptoms can include:
    • abdominal (belly) pain
    • nausea or vomiting
    • bloody or dark-colored stool or vomit
  • Hallucinations (seeing things that aren’t really there).
  • Depression. Symptoms usually last more than 2 weeks and may include:
    • depressed mood
    • loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
    • trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Heart problems, such as bradycardia (slow heart rate) or heart block. Symptoms can include:
    • feeling weak, exhausted, or confused
    • trouble breathing
  • Allergic reaction.*
  • Certain side effects in older people.*
  • Abnormal dreams or nightmares.*
  • Aggression.*
  • Seizures.

* For more information about this side effect, see the “Side effect details” section below.

Side effect details

Here’s some detail on certain side effects this drug may cause.

Side effects in older people

Older people (ages 65 years and older) may be more vulnerable to some of Aricept’s side effects. These can include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • insomnia (trouble falling asleep or staying asleep)
  • fatigue (lack of energy)

In general, older adults are more sensitive to medication effects compared with younger adults. This is because of the way drugs affect their bodies. It’s also because of how older adults’ bodies metabolize (break down) drugs. They may also have other medical conditions that could become worse due to certain side effects.

For most people, stomach-related side effects of Aricept (nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea) are usually temporary. In some cases, they may take 1 to 3 weeks to go away. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration, especially in older adults.

If you’re an older adult and you’re having trouble with Aricept’s side effects, call your doctor right away. They may suggest urgent medical care, such as intravenous (IV) fluids to treat dehydration.

Nightmares

Aricept may cause abnormal dreams, including nightmares, in some people. This side effect was reported in clinical studies of the drug, but it wasn’t common.

If you’ve had trouble with nightmares since starting Aricept, talk with your doctor. They can suggest ways to ease this side effect.

Aggression

Some people taking Aricept may engage in aggressive behavior. While aggression wasn’t specifically reported in clinical studies of the drug, hostility was reported in these studies. Aggression was reported in some people after clinical studies were completed.

Note that aggression can also be a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease and not necessarily a side effect of Aricept.

Although less common, other mood and behavior side effects have occurred with Aricept. Examples of such side effects include:

These mood and behavior side effects were reported only in certain studies of the drug. Specifically, these studies looked at the use of Aricept in adults with severe Alzheimer’s disease. Aggression and other behavior changes weren’t reported in studies of Aricept for mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

If you have questions or concerns about aggressive behavior with Aricept, talk with your doctor. They may suggest changes to your treatment plan.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Aricept. It’s unknown whether allergic reaction occurred during clinical studies of the drug.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Aricept, as the reaction could become severe. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

The Aricept dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:

  • the severity of the condition you’re using Aricept to treat
  • other medical conditions you may have

Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage. Then they’ll adjust it over time to reach the amount that’s right for you. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Drug forms and strengths

Aricept comes as a tablet that you’ll swallow.

Aricept oral tablet comes in three strengths: 5 milligrams (mg), 10 mg, and 23 mg.

Dosage for dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease

Whether you have dementia due to mild, moderate, or severe Alzheimer’s disease, the recommended starting dose is the same. You’ll typically take your dose once per day in the evening, just before you go to bed.

The starting dose of Aricept is 5 mg. You’ll likely continue taking this dose each evening for 4 to 6 weeks.

After 4 to 6 weeks, your doctor will likely increase your dosage of Aricept to 10 mg once per day. You’ll continue taking your dose in the evening at bedtime.

If your Alzheimer’s disease is mild to moderate, you’ll typically take the 10-mg dosage long term. The maximum dosage of Aricept for mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease is 10 mg per day.

If your Alzheimer’s disease is moderate to severe, you’ll likely take the 10-mg dosage for at least 3 months. After 3 months, your doctor may increase your dosage to 23 mg once per day. The maximum dosage of Aricept for moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease is 23 mg per day.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Aricept, you should skip the missed dose. You’ll continue taking your next dose at the usual time. You should not take two doses of the drug at the same time to make up for a missed dose.

If you miss taking Aricept for a week or longer, talk with your doctor before taking it again. They may recommend going back down to the starting dose of the drug. (For more information, see the section just above.)

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or timer on your phone or downloading a reminder app. A kitchen timer can work, too.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

Aricept is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Aricept is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Aricept.

What type of drug is Aricept classified as? Is it a psychotropic drug?

Aricept contains the active drug donepezil, which is classified as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. It’s used to treat dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease.

Aricept is not a psychotropic drug. Psychotropic drugs are used to treat mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder.

Does stopping Aricept cause side effects? When and how can you stop taking the drug?

It is not known if stopping Aricept caused side effects in clinical studies of the drug. The manufacturer of Aricept recommends that you do not stop taking the drug on your own.

Instead, talk with your doctor and let them know why you’d like to stop taking Aricept. They may be able to suggest other ways to address your concerns.

Can you take Aricept without having Alzheimer’s? Is the drug used for other forms of dementia, such as Lewy body dementia or vascular dementia?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved Aricept to treat dementia due to mild, moderate, or severe Alzheimer’s disease. It’s not approved for other types of dementia.

But Aricept may sometimes be prescribed off-label for other uses. Off-label drug use means using a drug for a purpose other than what it’s been approved for by the FDA. These uses may include Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia, and dementia from traumatic brain injury, among others.

Some studies have shown that Aricept may be beneficial for some of these conditions, but they’re not FDA-approved uses. If you have questions about treatment options for your condition, talk with your doctor.

Will Aricept cause worsened dementia?

Aricept is used to treat dementia that’s caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. But Aricept may help slow progression of dementia symptoms in some people.

Aricept doesn’t work the same for everyone with Alzheimer’s disease. Some people’s cognitive function (ability to think and remember) seems to improve for a while with Aricept treatment. They may also be able to perform daily tasks better, such as making meals or doing laundry. Other people seem to stay the same for a while, but Aricept may help to slow their disease progression.

Aricept may be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label drug use means using a drug for a purpose other than what it’s been approved for by the FDA.

Some studies have found that Aricept can make a certain form of dementia worse. Specifically, Aricept may worsen dementia caused by frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). According to the National Institute on Aging, FTLD is the leading cause of dementia in people younger than age 60.

If you have questions about whether Aricept may help your condition, talk with your doctor.

How does Aricept compare with Prevagen?

Aricept and Prevagen haven’t been compared in clinical studies.

Prevagen is a dietary supplement. It contains a jellyfish protein called apoaequorin. This protein is thought to help protect against brain changes that may occur with aging. But its use is not regulated or approved by the FDA, and there’s no evidence that Prevagen is beneficial for dementia.

Prevagen has not been studied in adults with Alzheimer’s disease or any type of dementia diagnosis.

Aricept, on the other hand, has results from clinical studies and FDA approval to support its use in adults with dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease.

If you have questions about Aricept or Prevagen, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Does Aricept treat depression or Parkinson’s disease?

Aricept is FDA-approved to treat only dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. It’s not approved to treat other types of dementia or depression.

But Aricept may sometimes be prescribed off-label for other types of dementia. Off-label drug use means using a drug for a purpose other than what it’s been approved for by the FDA. These uses may include dementia associated with Parkinson’s disease. Some clinical studies suggest that Aricept may be beneficial for this use, but more research is needed to confirm this.

Aricept is not known to be effective for depression. In fact, it may cause depression as a rare but serious side effect.

A study looked at whether donepezil, taken with antidepressants, could help improve cognitive function in adults with depression. The results showed that donepezil was no better than a placebo (a treatment that contains no active drug).

If you have questions about treatment options for your condition, talk with your doctor.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Aricept to treat certain conditions. Aricept may also be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label drug use means using a drug for a purpose other than what it’s been approved for by the FDA.

Aricept for dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease

Aricept is a brand-name prescription medication. It’s FDA-approved to treat dementia due to mild, moderate, or severe Alzheimer’s disease in adults.

Dementia is a decline in cognitive (brain) function. Cognitive function describes your ability to think, talk, comprehend, and remember.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition that affects the brain. It’s called a progressive condition because the symptoms, usually mild at first, get worse over time. Dementia is a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease.

The cause of Alzheimer’s disease isn’t fully understood. It’s thought to involve changes that take place in the brain as a result of dying brain cells.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. But Aricept can help slow progression of dementia symptoms in some people.

Effectiveness for dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease

Aricept has been shown to be an effective treatment for dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease in clinical studies.

But this drug doesn’t work the same for everyone with Alzheimer’s disease. Some people’s cognitive function (ability to think and remember) seems to improve for a while with Aricept treatment. They may also be able to perform daily tasks better, such as making meals or doing laundry. Other people seem to stay the same for a while, but Aricept may help to slow their disease progression.

Aricept and children

Aricept has not been tested in children. The drug has not been approved for any medical conditions that affect children.

Aricept can be used alone or in combination with other medications to treat dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease.

Examples of other drugs that may be used along with Aricept to treat dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease include:

  • memantine* (Namenda)

* A brand-name drug called Namzaric is available that contains both donepezil (the active drug in Aricept) and memantine (the active drug in Namenda).

Other drugs are available that can treat dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Aricept, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Note: Some of the drugs listed here are used off-label to treat these specific conditions. Off-label drug use means using a drug for a purpose other than what it’s been approved for by the FDA.

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease include:

  • memantine (Namenda)
  • donepezil/memantine (Namzaric)*
  • galantamine (Razadyne)
  • rivastigmine (Exelon)

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease include:

  • aducanumab (Aduhelm),† a new biologic drug that may delay worsening of Alzheimer’s disease
  • suvorexant (Belsomra), which is used to treat insomnia (trouble sleeping) due to mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease

* Namzaric is a brand-name combination medication. It contains both donepezil (the active drug in Aricept) with memantine (the active drug in Namenda) in one pill.
† There is some controversy over the accelerated approval aducanumab received from the FDA. For more information, see this article.

This drug comes with several precautions.

Before taking Aricept, talk with your doctor about your health history. Aricept may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:

  • Upcoming surgery. Aricept may interact with certain anesthesia drugs that are often used for surgery. Be sure to let your doctor know if you have any upcoming medical surgeries or dental procedures. They may suggest temporary changes to your treatment plan.
  • Past stomach ulcers or current use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Aricept can cause stomach ulcers or bleeding as a side effect. Your risk is higher if you’ve had stomach ulcers or are taking NSAIDs. Examples include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve).
  • People with lower body weight. People who weigh less than 55 kilograms (about 121 pounds) may have a higher risk for certain side effects from Aricept. These include nausea, vomiting, and weight loss. If you weigh less than 55 kilograms, talk with your doctor about these risks before starting this drug.
  • Asthma or other lung problems. Because of the way Aricept works, its use may increase the risk of side effects in people with lung problems. Examples include asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If you have asthma or COPD, talk with your doctor. They may suggest changes to your treatment plan to suit your individual needs.
  • Heart problems. Less commonly, Aricept may cause bradycardia (slow heart rate) or heart block. If you have a heart condition or heart rhythm problem, your risk for serious heart-related side effects from Aricept may be higher. If you have a heart problem, talk with your doctor about your condition before starting Aricept.
  • Seizures. Aricept has caused seizures or convulsions in some people. If you’ve had a seizure or seizure disorder, talk with your doctor. They can help you decide whether it’s safe for you to try Aricept.
  • Liver or kidney problems. If you have kidney or liver problems, such as alcoholic cirrhosis, your body may take longer to clear Aricept from your system. This may increase your risk for side effects. Tell your doctor if you have a liver or kidney condition. They will help guide you on the safest treatment options for you.
  • Allergic reaction. Past allergic reaction is a contraindication to taking Aricept. This means that if you’ve had an allergic reaction to Aricept or any of its ingredients, it’s recommended that you do not take Aricept. Ask your doctor about better treatment options for you.
  • Pregnancy. Aricept should not be used during pregnancy. For more information, see the “Aricept and pregnancy” section below.
  • Breastfeeding. Aricept should not be used while breastfeeding. For more information, see the “Aricept and breastfeeding” section below.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Aricept, see the “Aricept side effects” section above.

Aricept contains the active drug donepezil. Donepezil belongs to a drug class called acetylcholinesterase inhibitors.

People with Alzheimer’s disease have decreasing levels of acetylcholine (ACh), a chemical in the brain. ACh helps with cognitive function, such as thinking and memory. With Alzheimer’s disease, low ACh levels can lead to dementia (reduced cognitive function) that gets worse over time.

Donepezil’s mechanism of action is to slow the breakdown of ACh by blocking an enzyme* called acetylcholinesterase. This allows more ACh to build up in the brain. As a result, Aricept treatment may help slow the worsening of dementia in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

* Enzymes are proteins that aid chemical changes in your body.

How long does it take to work?

It takes at least 2 weeks for Aricept to start working. It may take a few weeks or months before you notice any improvement in cognitive function (ability to think and remember).

It’s important to know that you may not notice any improvement with Aricept. This is because the drug doesn’t work the same for everyone with dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease.

Some people’s cognitive function seems to improve for a while with Aricept treatment. They may also be able to perform daily tasks better, such as making meals or doing laundry. Other people seem to stay the same for a while, but Aricept may help to slow their disease progression.

Even if you don’t notice any change with Aricept, it may still be slowing the progression of your dementia symptoms.

How long does it stay in your system?

Aricept stays in your system for around 2 weeks after your last dose. But a study showed that the beneficial effects of Aricept decline over 6 weeks after stopping the drug.

As with all medications, the cost of Aricept can vary. To find current prices for Aricept in your area, check out GoodRx.com.

The cost you find on GoodRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Keep in mind that you may be able to get a 90-day supply of Aricept. If approved by your insurance company, getting a 90-day supply of the drug could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor or your insurance company.

Before approving coverage for Aricept, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the prior authorization request and decide if the drug will be covered.

If you’re not sure if you’ll need to get prior authorization for Aricept, contact your insurance company.

Financial and insurance assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Aricept, help may be available.

For more information about possible cost assistance for Aricept, visit the Medicine Assistance Tool website. Also check with your doctor or pharmacist about ways to save on this medication.

Mail-order pharmacies

Aricept may be available through a mail-order pharmacy. Using this service may help lower the drug’s cost and allow you to get your medication without leaving home.

If recommended by your doctor, you may be able to receive a 90-day supply of Aricept, so there’s less concern about running out of the medication. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor and your insurance company. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order medications.

If you don’t have insurance, you can ask your doctor or pharmacist about online pharmacy options.

Generic version

Aricept is available in a generic form called donepezil. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. The generic is considered to be as safe and effective as the original drug. And generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs. To find out how the cost of donepezil compares to the cost of Aricept, visit GoodRx.com.

If your doctor has prescribed Aricept and you’re interested in using donepezil instead, talk with your doctor. They may have a preference for one version or the other. You’ll also need to check your insurance plan, as it may cover only one or the other.

You should take Aricept according to the instructions your doctor or a healthcare professional gives you.

Aricept comes as a tablet that you’ll take by mouth once per day in the evening. The best time to take Aricept is right before you go to bed.

When to take

The manufacturer of Aricept recommends that you take your daily dose in the evening, right before your bedtime.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or timer on your phone or downloading a reminder app. A kitchen timer can work, too.

Taking Aricept with food

You can take Aricept with or without food.

Can Aricept be crushed, split, or chewed?

Aricept oral tablets that contain 5 milligrams (mg) or 10 mg of the active drug ingredient may be crushed or split. Most people swallow these whole. If your doctor advises you to do so, you can cut the 5-mg or 10-mg tablets in half.

If you take the 23-mg oral tablets, you should swallow each tablet whole. You should not crush, cut, or chew Aricept tablets that come in this strength.

There are no known interactions between alcohol and Aricept.

But alcohol use can cause some of the same side effects as Aricept. Examples include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • trouble sleeping

Also, over time, drinking too much alcohol can lead to liver problems. Liver damage, such as alcoholic cirrhosis, could possibly increase your risk for side effects from Aricept.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor before taking Aricept. They can advise you on whether it’s safe for you to drink any amount of alcohol with your medication.

Aricept can interact with several other medications. It can also interact with certain supplements as well as certain foods.

Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase side effects or make them more severe.

Aricept and other medications

Below is a list of medications that can interact with Aricept. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with Aricept.

Before taking Aricept, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

Types of drugs that can interact with Aricept include:

  • Certain antipsychotic drugs, such as quetiapine (Seroquel), which may increase the risk of a heart rhythm problem with Aricept.
  • Certain antifungals, such as ketoconazole (Nizoral), which may increase the levels of Aricept in your body. This could raise your risk for side effects.
  • Certain heart medications, such as quinidine. These might increase the levels of Aricept in your body, which could raise your risk for side effects.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which may increase your risk for stomach ulcers or bleeding with Aricept. Examples of NSAIDs include:
    • aspirin
    • ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
    • indomethacin (Indocin)
    • naproxen (Aleve)
  • Beta-blockers used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) and other heart conditions. They can increase the risk of bradycardia (slow heart rate) with Aricept. Examples include:
  • Certain anesthesia drugs, which carry the risk of making your muscles too weak or relaxed with Aricept. Examples include:
    • succinylcholine (Anectine)
  • Certain seizure drugs, which could make Aricept less effective. Examples include:
    • phenobarbital (Luminal)
  • Certain corticosteroids, such as dexamethasone (Decadron). These could affect how well Aricept works.
  • Rifampin (Rifadin), a tuberculosis medication. This drug could make Aricept less effective.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Aricept and herbs and supplements

There aren’t any herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Aricept. But St. John’s wort, an herbal remedy thought to ease depression, may interact with Aricept. This herb could affect how well the drug works.

Before using any herbs or supplements while taking Aricept, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Aricept and foods

There aren’t any foods that have been specifically reported to interact with Aricept. But it’s possible that grapefruit or grapefruit juice could increase your risk for side effects from Aricept. If you have any questions about eating certain foods with Aricept, talk with your doctor.

Whether stopping Aricept caused withdrawal effects wasn’t reported in clinical studies. Withdrawal effects are side effects that may occur after a person stops taking a drug. This happens because their body gets used to certain effects of that drug.

The manufacturer of Aricept recommends that you do not stop taking the drug on your own. Instead, talk with your doctor and let them know why you’d like to stop taking Aricept. They may be able to suggest other ways to address your concerns.

For example, if you don’t feel that Aricept is easing your dementia symptoms, it may be because your dose is too low.

If you’ve been taking Aricept 5 milligrams (mg) daily for at least 4 to 6 weeks, your doctor will increase your dose to 10 mg. You’ll continue taking 10 mg long term if you have mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. If your Alzheimer’s disease is moderate to severe, and you’ve been taking Aricept 10 mg daily for at least 3 months, your doctor may increase your dose to 23 mg.

It isn’t known whether Aricept can cause drug dependence.

It’s not known if Aricept is safe to take during pregnancy. Aricept’s effects on pregnancy and fetus development have not been tested in clinical studies.

But Aricept isn’t usually used by anyone who is able to become pregnant. It’s used to treat dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease, which typically affects older adults (ages 65 years and older).

It’s not known if Aricept is safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re using Aricept.

For more information about taking Aricept during pregnancy, see the “Aricept and pregnancy” section above.

You should not use Aricept if you’re breastfeeding or have plans to breastfeed. Aricept’s effects in breastfeeding females* or breastfed children have not been tested in clinical studies.

Aricept is not meant to be used by anyone who is able to breastfeed a child. It’s approved for use to treat only dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease, which typically affects older adults (ages 65 years and up).

If you have any questions about treatment options while breastfeeding, talk with your doctor.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the term “female” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

Using more than the recommended dosage of Aricept can lead to serious side effects. Do not take more Aricept than your doctor recommends.

Overdose symptoms

Symptoms of an overdose can include:

  • severe nausea and vomiting
  • increased saliva production
  • sweating
  • bradycardia (slow heart rate)
  • hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • slowed breathing rate
  • passing out
  • convulsions
  • severe muscle weakness, which can be life threatening if lung muscles are affected

What to do in case of overdose

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

When you get Aricept from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the bottle or packaging. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.

The expiration date helps guarantee that the medication is effective during this time. The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications. If you have unused medication that has gone past the expiration date, talk with your pharmacist about whether you might still be able to use it.

Storage

How long a medication remains good to use can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.

Aricept tablets should be stored at room temperature that’s between 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C). Store the drug in a tightly sealed container away from light. Avoid storing this medication in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as bathrooms.

Disposal

If you no longer need to take Aricept and have leftover medication, it’s important to dispose of it safely. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident. It also helps keep the drug from harming the environment.

This article provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information about how to dispose of your medication.

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