Donepezil helps reduce the symptoms of dementia. It is also used to treat Alzheimer’s disease.


What is Donepezil?

Donepezil works by increasing the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain. In order to do so, it inhibits the enzyme activity of cholinesterase.


How should Donepezil be taken?

Donepezil can be taken orally, usually before bedtime. 


Side effects associated with Donepezil

Donepezil can cause a fatal syndrome (neuroleptic malignant syndrome) whose symptoms include fever, muscle stiffness, confusion, strange thoughts, irregular heart beat and sweating.


Among other possible side effects of donepezil (most common in individuals under 55 kg) include the following:


  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss


It is important to contact a doctor right away if you experience:


  • Rash
  • Urticaria
  • Itch
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tightness in the chest;
  • Swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue
  • Dark or bloody stools
  • Chest pain
  • Dark urine
  • Painful, reduced or difficult urination
  • Fainting
  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Psychological problems or mood swings
  • Pain, weakness or muscle sensitivity
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Convulsions
  • Severe dizziness or headaches
  • Swollen hands, ankles or feet
  • Tremors
  • Bleeding
  • Extreme tiredness or weakness
  • Vomiting blood



Contraindications and warnings associated with the use of Donepezil

Before taking donepezil, it is important to tell your doctor if:


  • You have any allergies to the active substance, its excipients or any other drugs or food
  • You are taking any other medications, herbal remedies or supplements. Mentioning in particular:  NSAIDs, cholinergic agents, cholinesterase inhibitors, ketoconazole, quinidine, carbamazepine, dexamethasone, phenobarbital, phenytoin, rifampin, and anticholinergic drugs
  • You are suffering (or have suffered)from Parkinson’s disease, difficulty swallowing tablets, metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, liver or kidney disease, respiratory disorders, muscular disorders, urinary blocks, low levels of thyroid hormones, injury or brain tumors, increased brain pressure or epilepsy
  • You recently received a head injury
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding


It is important to inform surgeons or dentists of any ongoing treatments with donepezil.


Lastly, donepezil should not be taken by children.