What is aricept used for?

Aricept is a medication commonly used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects memory and cognitive function, with symptoms initially manifesting as mild memory impairment and progressing to severe dementia. Aricept, also known as donepezil, falls under the classification of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, which are drugs that aim to increase the availability of acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter responsible for facilitating cognitive processes, such as attention, memory, and learning.

How Does Aricept Work?

As mentioned above, Aricept is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. Acetylcholinesterase is an enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, thereby reducing the availability of this neurotransmitter in the brain. Aricept blocks the activity of acetylcholinesterase, leading to increased availability of acetylcholine in the brain. This increase in acetylcholine levels results in improved communication between neurons, thereby enhancing cognitive function.

What are the Indications for Aricept?

Alzheimer’s Disease

Aricept is primarily used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common neurodegenerative disorder that affects millions of individuals worldwide. The drug aims to improve cognitive function and increase the quality of life for patients suffering from this disease.

Other Conditions

Aricept can also be used to treat other neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease with dementia, Lewy body dementia, and vascular dementia. However, it is most commonly used for Alzheimer’s disease.

What is the Dosage of Aricept?

The typical starting dose of Aricept is 5mg per day. After four weeks, the dosage can be increased to 10mg per day. If necessary, the dosage can be increased to a maximum of 23mg per day. Patients with liver or kidney problems may be started on a lower dosage to avoid adverse effects.

What are the Side Effects of Aricept?

Aricept, like any medication, can cause some side effects that range from mild to severe. Some of the common side effects of Aricept include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle cramps
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite

More severe side effects are rare but can include:

  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Seizures
  • Fainting
  • Gastric ulcers

If you experience any severe side effects or have concerns, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

What are the Precautions When Taking Aricept?

Aricept may not be suitable for individuals with certain medical conditions or who are taking certain medications. Therefore, it is essential to inform your healthcare provider of any preexisting medical conditions or medications you are taking.

Aricept should not be taken by anyone allergic to donepezil or any of the other ingredients in the medication. The medication has not been tested in pregnant or breastfeeding women. Therefore, it is not recommended unless absolutely necessary.

Aricept may cause dizziness or drowsiness in some individuals. If you have these symptoms, do not drive or operate machinery that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform these activities safely.

What are the Benefits of Aricept?

Aricept has been shown to be effective in improving cognitive function in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have also shown that Aricept can help stabilize the symptoms of cognitive decline, leading to improved quality of life for both patients and caregivers.

Aricept has also been shown to be well-tolerated in most individuals, making it a safe and effective treatment option for Alzheimer’s disease.

What are the Alternatives to Aricept?

There are several other acetylcholinesterase inhibitors available on the market, such as galantamine and rivastigmine. Memantine, a non-acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, is another medication that is often used in combination with Aricept or as an alternative treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.


Aricept is a medication used to improve cognitive function in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. The medication works by increasing the availability of acetylcholine in the brain, leading to improved communication between neurons and enhanced cognitive function. While Aricept can cause some side effects, it is generally well-tolerated and can improve the quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.


  • What is the generic name for Aricept?

    The generic name for Aricept is donepezil.
  • How long does it take for Aricept to start working?

    It may take several weeks for Aricept to start working. Patients may notice a gradual improvement in cognitive function and quality of life over time.
  • Can Aricept cure Alzheimer’s disease?

    Aricept is not a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. However, it can improve cognitive function and quality of life in individuals with this condition.
  • Can Aricept be taken with other medications?

    Aricept can interact with some medications, so it is essential to inform your healthcare provider of any preexisting medical conditions or medications you are taking before starting Aricept.


  • Donepezil in Alzheimer’s disease: From conventional trials to pharmacogenetics. Villarreal AE, Grajales S, García-Sierra F. Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2017 Mar; 36:41-44.
  • A review of the pharmacological properties and clinical effects of Aricept. Rogers SL, Friedhoff LT. International Psychogeriatrics. 1998 Nov; 10(Suppl 1):25-30.