Frequently asked questions

Here are answers to some common questions about Alzheimer's and ARICEPT.

How is ARICEPT taken?

ARICEPT (donepezil HCl) is taken once daily in the evening before bedtime. It can be taken with or without food. 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.

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. 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.

What are the most common side effects of ARICEPT?

The most common side effects of ARICEPT are:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Not sleeping well
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Feeling tired
  • Not wanting to eat

What are the other possible side effects of ARICEPT?

ARICEPT may also cause the following serious side effects:

  • Slow heartbeat and fainting. This happens more often in people with heart problems. Call the doctor right away if your loved one faints while taking ARICEPT
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Lung problems, including asthma. These may worsen with the use of ARICEPT. Tell the doctor that your loved one takes ARICEPT before they have any procedure that may require anesthesia, including dental and medical procedures or surgery

When should I call the doctor?

You should call the doctor right away if your loved one has:

  • Fainting
  • Heartburn or stomach pain that is new or won't go away
  • Nausea or vomiting, blood in dark vomit, dark vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • Bowel movements or stools that look like black tar
  • New or worse asthma or breathing problems
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty passing urine

What can I expect when my loved one takes ARICEPT?

ARICEPT does not work the same in all people. Some people may:

  • Seem better
  • Get better in small ways or stay the same
  • Get worse over time but slower than expected
  • Not change and then get worse as expected

ARICEPT does not cure Alzheimer's disease. All patients with Alzheimer's disease get worse over time, even if they take ARICEPT.

If you are unsure if ARICEPT is working, don't stop taking it without talking to the doctor first.

What if my loved one is taking other medicines?

Always check with the doctor before taking other medicines with ARICEPT. And, be sure to tell the doctor about other medicines your loved one takes. Tell the doctor if your loved one takes nonprescription or prescription medicines, including those used to treat Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease; anticholinegic medicines, such as allergy or cold medicine; medicines to treat bladder or bowel spasms; or certain asthma medicines. The doctor also needs to know if your loved one takes any over-the-counter drugs. These include herbal remedies and dietary supplements.

Can ARICEPT 23 mg be taken without food?

ARICEPT 23 mg is taken once a day, in the evening before bedtime, with or without food. ARICEPT 23 mg must be swallowed whole, and should not be split, crushed or chewed. The tablets need to be intact to be absorbed correctly.

What if a dose of ARICEPT 23 mg is missed?

If you miss giving your loved one a dose of ARICEPT 23 mg, just wait. Give only the next dose at the usual time. Do not give 2 doses at the same time. If the patient takes too much ARICEPT 23 mg at one time, call the doctor or poison control center, or go to the emergency room right away.

When it comes to taking medicine, always follow the doctor's advice. If ARICEPT 23 mg is missed for 1 week, call the doctor before any more ARICEPT 23 mg is taken. It's important not to run out. Call for a refill ahead of time.

How long should ARICEPT be taken?

Your doctor should determine how long to continue treatment with ARICEPT. Talk to the doctor before stopping ARICEPT treatment.

Will I be able to afford treatment with ARICEPT 23 mg?

To find out if your loved one's plan covers ARICEPT 23 mg, please contact their insurance or prescription drug provider. Please note, as with any medicine, a copay may be required and will vary from plan to plan. You may also refer to the resource below.

Fingertip Formulary. www.fingertipformulary.com.

You can also learn more about prescription coverage for
ARICEPT 23 mg, by calling the Eisai Primary Care Assistance Program at 1-800-769-3880.

What if I have more questions about ARICEPT?

If you would like more information about ARICEPT, call toll free: 877-823-0327.

INDICATION

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

DOSING INFORMATION

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.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

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

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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. 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.