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What is Aricept?
Aricept is approved by the FDA to treat all the symptoms of all stages of Alzheimer’s disease (from mild to severe).
While it is not a cure for the disease, Aricept can improve mental activity, memory and ability to perform basic activities of everyday life in patients suffering from the dementia of the Alzheimer’s type.
How does Aricept work?
The active component of Aricept is donepezil, a selective and reversible inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase. Aricept slows down the breakdown of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine (it is involved in the memory function as well as in other mental processes) by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase.
In patients with Alzheimer’s disease, there is a decrease in the level of this neurotransmitter in the brain. Thus, Aricept increases the level of acetylcholine and relieves the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
What are the side effects of Aricept?
Aricept can cause the following adverse reactions:
Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting;
Loss of appetite;
Muscle pain, weakness or tenderness;
Rash or itching, etc.
Rarely Aricept can cause some serious side effects that require immediate medical attention:
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Fainting and slow heartbeat – it could happen in patients with heart problems;
Worsening of the problems with lungs in patients with lung diseases;
Increased production of gastric ulcer – this could raise the risk of ulcers.
Difficulties with urination.
The drug was approved by the FDA in 1996. Since then a large number of patients with Alzheimer’s have taken it for many years; therefore, unexpected important adverse reactions are unlikely to emerge.
What is the recommended dose of Aricept?
The recommended dose depends on the severity of the condition. In mild to moderate manifestations of Alzheimer’s the initial dose is 5 mg taken once a day straight before going to bed for one month. Then the dose can be increased up to 10 mg. The dose higher than 10 mg does not provide any significant benefits. No adjustment to the dosage regimen should be done without doctor’s recommendations.
Are there any contraindications to taking Aricept?
Aricept should not be taken by those who are hypersensitive to piperidine derivatives or donepezil hydrochloride.