Aricept (Donepezil) Side Effects, Before Using & Overall Information

Aricept is an enzyme blocker. It restores the balance of neurotransmitters inside the human brain and help in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Donepezil is used in the treatment of mental confusion, i.e., dementia related to Alzheimer’s disease. This medication is not a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but it may help with the following:

  • Improve memory
  • Enhance awareness
  • Increase the ability to function



Side Effects

If you are using Aricept (Donepezil) with consultation from your doctor, then you should keep the fact in mind that he has weighed the pros and cons of the medicine before prescribing them to you.

Minor Side Effects

There are a few side effects of using Aricept (Donepezil). Depending on their severity, they may not even need medical attention. Since it is new for the body, it will take some time to adjust to Aricept (Donepezil), and these side effects will go after some time naturally. Minor side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Tremors
  • Muscle cramps


Serious Side Effects

If you experience the following, get medical attention immediately:

  • Trouble urinating
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Black stools
  • Seizures
  • Erratic heartbeat
  • Severe dizziness
  • Fainting

It is rare that you get a severe allergic reaction to Aricept such as difficulty in breathing or swelling of the tongue, throat or face due to this drug. However, if such is the case, you should call for medical assistance.


How to use

Aricept (Donepezil) is to be taken orally, once a day before going to sleep. It can be taken with or without the intake of food. If it causes insomnia, discuss it with your doctor, and he might switch you over to a morning dose accordingly. The tablets are to be swallowed and should not be crushed or split. The dosage and the time duration of the treatment may vary according to your medical condition and your response to treatment. Use this medication regularly, as prescribed by your doctor. Make sure you take it at the same time, each day.

If your condition becomes worse, or you do not feel and see any improvement in your condition, consult your doctor.



If you are allergic to Aricept or if you have any other kind of allergies, it is better to inform your healthcare provider, before taking Aricept. There can be some inactive ingredients in Aricept which may also cause allergic reactions. To know more details, you should talk to your doctor.

Having knowledge about your prior medical illnesses is very important. If you have suffered from the following in the past or are under treatment for the following, your doctor should know beforehand:

  • Breathing problems
  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Stomach/intestinal disease
  • Ulcers
  • Bleeding
  • Trouble urinating
  • Enlarged prostate


  • Enlarged prostate

You might experience dizziness after taking Aricept. If you are using it with alcohol or marijuana, it will make you even dizzier. Do not drive any heavy machinery after taking this medication.

If you are undergoing surgery, make sure your healthcare provider knows all the medications you are taking.

This medication when taken alongside other medications, and if you are suffering from other medical conditions as well, can increase the risk of QT prolongation. Before using this medication, tell your doctor the names of all the medications that you are taking and inform him if you suffer from the following conditions:

  • Heart failure
  • Slow heartbeat
  • QT prolongation in the EKG


The risk of QT prolongation is increased if you have low blood levels of potassium and magnesium. If you are using diuretics, inform your healthcare provider about them as well.

In people of older age, the side effects of Aricept such as QT prolongation may be more enhanced due to their increased sensitivity.

If you are pregnant or are breastfeeding, you should discuss the pros and cons of taking this medication with your doctor.