Donepezil is used to treat confusion (dementia) related to Alzheimer’s disease. It does not cure Alzheimer’s disease, but it may improve memory, awareness, and the ability to function. This medication is an enzyme blocker that works by restoring the balance of natural substances (neurotransmitters) in the brain.
How to use donepezil oral
Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking donepezil and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually once daily just before bedtime. If you experience sleep problems (insomnia), talk to your doctor about switching to a morning dose.
If you are taking the 23-milligram strength tablets, swallow them whole. Do not split, crush, or chew these tablets. Doing so can increase the risk of side effects.
Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. To reduce your risk of side effects (such as nausea and diarrhea), your doctor will start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose over weeks to months. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often than prescribed.
If you do not take donepezil for 7 or more days in row, talk with your doctor before starting again. You may need to start at a lower dose to decrease the risk of side effects.
Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day. Do not stop taking it unless your doctor instructs you to do so. It may take a several weeks before you get the full benefit of this drug.
Tell your doctor if your condition worsens.
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite/weight loss, dizziness, drowsiness, weakness, trouble sleeping, shakiness (tremor), or muscle cramps may occur as your body adjusts to the drug. These effects usually last 1-3 weeks and then lessen. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these serious side effects occur: trouble urinating, severe stomach/abdominal pain, black stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, seizures.
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: slow/fast/irregular heartbeat, severe dizziness, fainting.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.