Donepezil, sold as the trade name Aricept among others, is a medication used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. It appears to result in a small benefit in mental function and ability to function.Use, however, has not been shown to change the progression of the disease.Treatment should be stopped if no benefit is seen. It is taken by mouth.
The first generic donepezil became available in November 2010 with the USFDA approval of a formulation prepared by Ranbaxy Labs. In April 2011 a second generic formulation, from Wockhardt, received tentative USFDA marketing approval
Common side effects include nausea, trouble sleeping, aggression, diarrhea, feeling tired, and muscle cramps. Serious side effects may include heart arrythmias, urinary retention, and seizures. Donepezil is a centrally acting reversible acetylcholinesterase inhibitor.
Aricept should be used with caution in people with heart disease, cardiac conduction disturbances, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, severe cardiac arrhythmias and sick sinus syndrome.