DONEPEZIL (Aricept): What is used for?

What is Donepezil?

Donepezil is an active ingredient used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The product ingredient is Donepezil hydrochloride (hcl).

The brand names of Donepezil in United States are: Aricept, Aricept ODT.

Donepezil Mechanism of Action (MOA)

Specific and reversible inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase, predominant cholinesterase in the brain.

Therapeutic indications, uses and benefits of Donepezil

Symptomatic treatment of mild to moderately severe Alzheimer’s disease.

Donepezil Dosage

One shot before going to bed.
Adults and the elderly: 5 mg/day for 1 month, evaluate evolution and increase to 10 mg/day.
Children not recommended.


  • Hypersensitivity.
  • Piperidine derivatives.
  • Pregnancy.

Donepezil warnings and precautions

  • Anesthesia.
  • Accentuates muscle relaxation succinylcholine type.
  • Supraventricular cardiac conduction alterations.
  • History of asthma.
  • Obstructive pulmonary disease, ulcerative disease or concomitant with NSAIDs.
  • Exacerbate or induce extrapyramidal symptoms.
  • Risk of convulsions and lower urinary tract obstruction.
  • Risk of neuroleptic malignant syndrome, if symptoms indicative of neuroleptic malignant syndrome develop, discontinue treatment.
  • Danger of rhabdomyolysis, more frequent at the beginning of treatment or when increasing the dose.

Interactions with Donepezil

  • Metabolism inhibited by: CYP3A4 and 2D6 inhibitors.
  • Reduced levels by: rifampicin, phenytoin, carbamazepine and alcohol.
  • Synergistic activity with: succinylcholine, other neuromuscular blockers, cholinergic agonists and ß-blockers.

Pregnancy and Donepezil



This active ingredient is excreted in milk in rats. It is not known whether Donepezil is excreted in human breast milk and no studies have been done in breastfeeding women. Therefore, women taking this medication should not provide breast-feeding.

Effects on driving ability

Alzheimer’s disease can cause a gradual deterioration in driving ability or compromise the ability to use machines. In addition, this active ingredient may cause dizziness and drowsiness, mainly when treatment is started or when the dose is increased.

Donepezil’s influence on the ability to drive and use machines is mild or moderate. Therefore, the physician will regularly evaluate the ability of patients with dementia to continue to drive or operate complex machinery.

Adverse reactions and side effects of Donepezil

Diarrhea, muscle cramps, fatigue, pain.
Nausea, vomiting, insomnia, syncope, dizziness.
Abdominal discomfort, urinary incontinence, rash, itching.
Headache, anorexia, common cold.
Hallucinations, agitation, aggressive behavior, abnormal dreams and nightmares, accidents.


Tertiary anticholinergic antidote such as atropine.
An intravenous (IV) injection of atropine sulfate is recommended as follows: initial dose of 1-2 mg, with subsequent doses based on clinical response.


Source: The content of this active ingredient has been written taking into account the clinical and molecular information of all medicines authorised and marketed in the United States under the Unique Ingredient Identifier (UNII) by the Substance Registration System (SRS) of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Pharmacopeia (USP).

In order to know in detail the information authorized by the FDA for each drug, you should consult the corresponding medication guide authorized by the FDA.


UNII: 8SSC91326P
PubChem CID: 3152
NCI Thesaurus: C66874



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