Donepezil - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Donepezil: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is Donepezil?

Donepezil helps treat brain disorders, dementia, which primarily attacks memory, induces forgetfulness, disoriented communication, and changes moods and personality.  It helps relieve some symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and necessarily not all types of dementia. It helps to improve memory, awareness, and the brain’s ability to function optimally. Donepezil belongs to the cholinesterase inhibitors class of drugs.

Generic name: Donepezil (oral).
Available as a brand name: Aricept, Namzaric.
Dosages: oral tablet (10 mg, 5 mg slowly disintegrates in mouth).

What are the uses of Donepezil?

  • Donepezil is used to manage mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
  • It controls the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease but is not a cure for it.
  • Helps improve the memory of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Donepezil also helps manage vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease associated with dementia, and Lewy body dementia.

Don’t take Donepezil without consulting your doctor, and if you are on Donepezil medication, don’t stop if you feel well. Do not stop the medication without consulting your doctor.

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What are the side effects and precautions of Donepezil?

Common side effects are:

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.
  • Weight loss.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Muscles and body cramps.
  • Dizziness.
  • Joints and leg pain.
  • Stiffness and swelling in the body.
  • Depression and confusion.
  • Insomnia (sleep problem).

Other rare side effects; call your doctor if you experience the below symptoms:

  • Difficulty and pain in urination.
  • Slow heart rate.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Seizure.
  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Bloody stool or vomit.


Some precautions should be taken when taking this drug:

  • Don’t drive after taking Donepezil, as it causes drowsiness and sleepiness.
  •  If you are allergic to any drug or Donepezil, tell your doctor before taking the drug.
  • If you are an asthma patient or have any chronic obstructive disease consult with your doctor. Donepezil can cause breathing problems.
  • Avoid Donepezil during pregnancy.
  • Tell your doctor if you have any heart problems or a family history of particular heart problems (heart attack, QT prolongation in ECG, etc.).

Talk to your physician or our team at Yashoda Hospitals for expert medical advice before taking this drug.


Frequently Asked Questions about Donepezil

1. How effective is Donepezil?

The cholinesterase inhibitor Donepezil helps to treat mild to moderately severe Alzheimer's disease. Donepezil affects the three major sites of Alzheimer's disease such as functional ability, behavior, and cognition. Donepezil has evidence of improvement and less deterioration in worldly outcomes.

2. Does Donepezil improve memory?

Donepezil helps treat dementia in patients (a brain disorder that affects memory, communication, and daily activities that lead to mood and personality changes) who have suffered from Alzheimer's disease. It is from the cholinesterase inhibitor class drugs, which helps improve brain disorders. It enhances memory, clear speech, ability to think, and the performance of daily activities efficiently. Donepezil does not fully cure Alzheimer's disease but helps to prevent the brain's abilities at some point.

3. Can Donepezil be crushed?

No, Donepezil cannot be crushed, chewed, or broken as it may increase the absorption rate of the drug in the body. Swallow the tablet whole with water, do not crush or split it. Ask your doctor how to take the medication.

4. Can Donepezil cause confusion?

Donepezil is a drug that helps treat dementia -- loss of memory, ability to think, and confusion. Dononepezil does not confuse; it helps treat symptoms like forgetfulness and confusion.

5. Is Donepezil the same as Aricept?

Yes, Donepezil is a generic name, and it is sold under the brand name Aricept. Aricept is a cholinesterase inhibitor that decreases the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain tissue. Aricept treats mild to moderate dementia that is likely present in Alzheimer's patients. Aricept is an oral tablet taken with or without food.

6. Does Donepezil cause catatonia?

Catatonia is an abnormality in behavior and movement that forms by a mental disorder. Catatonia is a part of dementia and occurs in almost all types of dementia patients. Donepezil helps to treat dementia but does not cause catatonia. Donepezil is used in the treatment of brain disorders that are caused due to Alzheimer's by increasing the level of particular naturally occurring material in the brain.

7. How does Donepezil help dementia?

Dementia is one of the causes of Alzheimer's. In the brain, there is a chemical present called acetylcholine. This acetylcholine level becomes low, and a person has Alzheimer's disease. Acetylcholine helps to send messages between nerve cells. Because of the low level or loss of acetylcholine in the brain, symptoms of Alzheimer's patients worsen. Donepezil is a cholinesterase inhibitor that breaks down the acetylcholine in the brain. This increases the acetylcholine levels, which improves communication to the nerve cells and helps in dementia.

8. Why is Donepezil taken at night?

Donepezil lowers heart rate, making it easier to pump blood from the heart to all over the body. When you take the first dose of Donepezil, you feel dizzy and sleepy, so it is best to take the drug at bedtime. By taking Donepezil, you may experience bad dreams and difficulty sleeping. Consult your doctor about taking it early in the morning if you have nightmares or difficulty sleeping.

9. Does Donepezil make dementia worse?

Patients on Donepezil medications have increased compulsive effects, which show low intensity with the discontinuation of the drug. However, there is no change in the severity of dementia, but some people experience symptoms worsening with Donepezil. After you take the drug, the effects may continue for 6 to 12 months, and the symptoms start to worsen again even if you are still on Donepezil.

10. Who should not take Donepezil?

People with some medical conditions should not take Donepezil before consulting the doctor:

  • Stomach and intestine ulcers.
  • Irregular or slow heartbeat.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Asthmatic patient.
  • People experiencing difficulty urinating.
  • People with chronic obstructive disease.
  • Lung, liver, and kidney-related problems.
You can book an appointment with Yashoda Hospitals to consult our doctors or get your medical queries answered on our website.

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Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.