Donepezil improves the function of nerve cells in the brain. It works by preventing the breakdown of a chemical called acetylcholine (ah SEET il KOE leen). People with dementia usually have lower levels of this chemical, which is important for the processes of memory, thinking, and reasoning.

Donepezil is used to treat mild to moderate dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

Donepezil is not a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. This condition will progress over time, even in people who take donepezil.

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  • Aricept, Aricept ODT
  • More common
    Diarrhea
    loss of appetite
    muscle cramps
    nausea
    trouble in sleeping
    unusual tiredness or weakness
    vomiting
    Less common
    Abnormal dreams
    constipation
    dizziness
    drowsiness
    fainting
    frequent urination
    headache
    joint pain, stiffness, or swelling
    mental depression
    pain
    unusual bleeding or bruising
    weight loss
    Rare
    Black, tarry stools
    bloating
    bloody or cloudy urine
    blurred vision
    burning, prickling, or tingling sensations
    cataract
    chills
    clumsiness or unsteadiness
    confusion
    cough
    decreased urination
    difficult or painful urination
    dryness of mouth
    eye irritation
    fever
    flushing of skin
    frequent urge to urinate
    high or low blood pressure
    hives
    hot flashes
    increase in sexual desire or performance
    increased heart rate and breathing
    increased sweating
    increased urge to urinate during the night
    irregular heartbeat
    itching
    loss of bladder control
    loss of bowel control
    mood or mental changes, including abnormal crying, aggression, agitation, delusions, irritability, nervousness, or restlessness
    nasal congestion
    pain in chest, upper stomach, or throat
    problems with speech
    runny nose
    severe thirst
    shortness of breath
    sneezing
    sore throat
    sunken eyes
    tightness in chest
    tremor
    troubled breathing
    wheezing
    wrinkled skin
    Incidence not known
    Back, leg, or stomach pains
    bleeding gums
    chest pain or discomfort
    coma
    convulsions
    dark urine
    difficulty breathing
    fast or irregular heartbeat
    fatigue
    general body swelling
    general tiredness and weakness
    high fever
    increased thirst
    indigestion
    light-colored stools
    muscle pain or cramps
    nausea and vomiting
    nosebleeds
    pains in stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
    pale skin
    rash
    seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
    seizures
    severe muscle stiffness
    severe nausea
    slow or irregular heartbeat
    stomach pain
    sweating
    swelling of face, ankles, or hands
    tiredness
    unusually pale skin
    upper right abdominal or stomach pain
    yellow eyes and skin
    Symptoms of overdose
    Convulsions (seizures)
    increased sweating
    increased watering of mouth
    increasing muscle weakness
    low blood pressure
    severe nausea
    severe vomiting
    slow heartbeat
    troubled breathing
  • (oral tablet, oral tablet, disintegrating)