Before starting ARICEPT

What should I tell the doctor before my loved one takes ARICEPT?

Tell the doctor about all your loved one's present or past health problems. Include:

  • Any heart problems including problems with irregular, slow, or fast heartbeats
  • Asthma or lung problems
  • A seizure
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Liver or kidney problems
  • Trouble swallowing tablets
  • Present pregnancy or plans to become pregnant. It is not known if ARICEPT can harm an unborn baby
  • Present breast-feeding. It is not known if ARICEPT (donepezil HCl) passes into breast milk. ARICEPT is not for women who are breast-feeding

Tell the doctor about all the medicines your loved one takes, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. ARICEPT and other medicines may affect each other.

Be particularly sure to tell the doctor if your loved one takes aspirin or medicines called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). There are many NSAID medicines, both prescription and non-prescription. Ask the doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure if any of your loved one's medicines are NSAIDs. Taking NSAIDs and ARICEPT together may make your loved one more likely to get stomach ulcers.

ARICEPT taken with certain medicines used for anesthesia may cause side effects. Tell the responsible doctor or dentist that your loved one takes ARICEPT before they have:

  • Surgery
  • Medical procedures
  • Dental surgery or procedures

Know the medicines that your loved one takes. Keep an updated list of all their medicines. Show it to the doctor or pharmacist before they start a new medicine.

How should your loved one take ARICEPT?

  • Give ARICEPT exactly as prescribed by the doctor. Do not stop ARICEPT or change the dose yourself. Talk with the doctor first
  • Give ARICEPT one time each day. ARICEPT can be taken with or without food
  • ARICEPT 23 mg tablets should be swallowed whole without the tablets being split, crushed or chewed
  • ARICEPT Orally Disintegrating Tablets (ODT) melt on the tongue. Your loved one should drink some water after the tablet melts
  • If you miss giving your loved one a dose of ARICEPT, just wait. Give only the next dose at the usual time. Do not give 2 doses at the same time
  • If ARICEPT is missed for 7 days or more, talk with the doctor before starting again
  • If your loved one takes too much ARICEPT at one time, call the doctor or poison control center, or go to the emergency room right away


ARICEPT® (donepezil HCl) is a prescription medicine to treat mild, moderate, and severe Alzheimer's disease.


Before starting on ARICEPT 23 mg/day, patients should be on ARICEPT 10 mg/day for at least 3 months. The starting dose of ARICEPT is 5 mg/day and can be increased to 10 mg/day after 4‑6 weeks. Please take ARICEPT as prescribed by the doctor.


  • ARICEPT (donepezil HCl) is not for everyone, including people who are allergic to any ingredients in ARICEPT or to medicines that contain piperidines.

  • Tell the doctor that the patient takes ARICEPT before they have any procedure that may require anesthesia, including dental and medical procedures or surgery.

  • ARICEPT may cause slow heartbeat and fainting. This happens more often in people with heart problems. Call the doctor right away if the patient faints while taking ARICEPT. People may also have seizures while taking ARICEPT. They may also have difficulty passing urine. Lung problems, including asthma, may worsen with the use of ARICEPT.

  • In a study, more side effects were seen with ARICEPT 23 mg than with ARICEPT 10 mg. Many more people taking ARICEPT 23 mg experienced nausea and vomiting than those taking ARICEPT 10 mg. These side effects may get better after the patient takes ARICEPT for a while.

  • People at risk for stomach ulcers or who take certain other medicines, such as aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), should tell their doctor because serious stomach problems, such as bleeding, may get worse.

  • Other side effects that were seen more often with ARICEPT 23 mg were stomach ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, and weight loss. People of lower weight (less than 121 lbs) may have increased nausea, vomiting, and weight loss when taking ARICEPT 23 mg.

  • Other side effects of ARICEPT may include diarrhea, difficulty sleeping, vomiting, or muscle cramps. Some people may feel tired or may have loss of appetite.

  • Tell the doctor if your loved one takes nonprescription or prescription medicines, including those used to treat Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease; anticholinergic medicines, such as allergy or cold medicine; medicines to treat bladder or bowel spasms; or certain asthma medicines.