Aricept medication donepezil hydrochloride

June 2 2016 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.


Aricept is a pharmaceutical drug that acts as the reversible inhibitor of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase and prescribed as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease. It is thought to exert its therapeutic effect by enhancing cholinergic function. This is accomplished by increasing the concentration of acetylcholine through reversible inhibition of its hydrolysis by acetylcholinesterase. If this proposed mechanism of action is correct, Aricept ís effect may lessen as the disease process advances and fewer cholinergic neurons remain functionally intact. There is no evidence that Aricept alters the course of an underlying dementia process.


Aricept side effects, problems, caution

The most common Aricept side effects include nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, vomiting, muscle cramp, fatigue and anorexia.


Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2014. Syncope secondary to second-degree atrioventricular block with donepezil use. Donepezil, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, is approved for the treatment of mild to moderate dementia secondary to Alzheimer's disease. Although most prescribers are aware of the common gastrointestinal side effects of donepezil, cardiovascular side effects are rarely observed. Cardiovascular side effects of donepezil have almost always been observed in patients with a history of conduction defects or sick sinus syndrome. We report a case of a woman with early onset Alzheimer's disease and no history of cardiac disease who developed second-degree heart block after a few weeks of therapy with donepezil. Withdrawal of donepezil led to resolution of the atrioventricular block.


Ann Pharmacother. 2014. Donepezil-induced myoclonus in a patient with Alzheimer disease.


Aricept induced decrease in heart rate and increase in PR interval are observed in patients with Alzheimer's disease.


Aricept and dementia
Preliminary findings: behavioral worsening on donepezil Aricept in patients with frontotemporal dementia.
Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2007. Mendez MF, Shapira JS, McMurtray A. Department of Neurology, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA.
The objective of this study was to evaluate donepezil Aricept, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, in the treatment of frontotemporal dementia. Twelve patients with frontotemporal dementia who received Aricept for six months were compared with 12 frontotemporal dementia controls on behavioral measures. The groups did not differ on most variables at baseline or at six months; however, the Aricept group had greater worsening on the frontotemporal dementia Inventory. Four treated patients had increased disinhibited or compulsive acts, which abated with discontinuation of the medication. Conclusion: There were no changes in global cognitive performance or dementia severity; however, a subgroup of patients with frontotemporal dementia can experience worsening of symptoms with Aricept.


Aricept and Alzheimer's, alternative with dietary supplements

I just read everything I could on Alzheimer's on your website and I have spent hours researching the prescription drugs available. My mother is 88, lives alone in an adult apartment complex and is experiencing early stages of dementia. The doctor first prescribed Aricept and she had severe nausea and then was changed to Exelon 1.3mg 2x/day and has been on it for about 6 weeks with no problems. This week the doctor increased her dosage to 3mg 2xday and she had severe dizziness, nausea and was unable to focus her eyes 3 hours after the first dose. The doctor wanted her to get used to the increased dosage for one week and then to add Namenda. After her experience today I am concerned about her falling or being sick in her apartment alone. The prescription drugs have too many side effects. My mom has been very active with games and activities at her complex and I want her to be able to continue enjoying life as much as possible. I am of the opinion that she might do as well if not better with something natural that does not have the Aricept side effects and the research I have read is not very promising for the prescription drugs and the amount of actual benefit. Can Mind Power Rx be effective for Alzheimers for some people. Obviously I would not do anything without her doctors agreement but being sick each day with nausea is worse than forgetfulness. She also takes blood pressure medications Captopril, Isosorbide and Benicar and is overweight. My question is - would any of the ingredients in Mind Power interfere with the blood pressure pills she currently takes, and if not, would she take 1 pill 5 days per week or less? I have been a follower of your opinions for several years now due to my own health concerns and greatly admire you Dr. Sahelian. Any suggestions you have would be so appreciated.
     A. Thank you. Aricept and other medicines prescribed for Alzheimer's are not necessarily that helpful and could have serious side effects. It is not easy to predict the response to Mind Power Rx for Alzheimer's patients, but it is worth a try at a low dose of half a capsule and the dosage can be adjusted based on response. Doctor approval is necessary.