Alzheimers Home > Aricept Precautions and Warnings

Before starting your prescription of Aricept, precautions and warnings for the medicine should be fully understood. For example, the medication may cause side effects, including low blood pressure, seizures, bladder obstruction, and weight loss. Also, people who are allergic to any components of the drug or who have an active gastrointestinal bleed should avoid taking Aricept.

Aricept: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

Prior to taking Aricept® (donepezil hydrochloride), you should tell your healthcare provider if you have:
  • Asthma or other lung disease
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease, such as liver failure, hepatitis, or cirrhosis
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Seizures or epilepsy
  • Stomach or intestinal disease, ulcers, or bleeding
  • An allergy to Aricept or other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives.
It is also important to let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding
  • Planning on having a surgery or procedure.
Tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you may currently be taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Some Aricept Warnings and Precautions

Some Aricept warnings and precautions to be aware of include:
  • Aricept can interact with certain medications (see Aricept Drug Interactions).
  • If you have severe liver disease, your healthcare provider may choose to start you on a lower dose of Aricept and monitor your condition more closely.
  • If you are having any kind of surgery, including dental surgery, let the doctor or dentist know that you are taking Aricept. Aricept may interact with some of the medicines used during surgery or dental procedures and cause unwanted side effects.
  • Aricept may cause you to become dizzy or drowsy, or have blurred vision. Make sure you know how you react to this medication before you drive or operate heavy machinery.
  • Aricept may cause hypotension (low blood pressure) and make you feel light-headed when you stand. Make sure to rise slowly from a sitting or lying position.
  • Aricept may make certain heart conditions worse. If you have sick sinus syndrome, heart block, or other heart problems, your healthcare provider may choose to monitor your heart problem more carefully while you are taking Aricept.
  • If you are taking Aricept and have an ulcer disease or are taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®), naproxen (Naprosyn®, Anaprox®, Naprelan®, Aleve®), or others, you may be at an increased risk for stomach or intestinal bleeding. Your healthcare provider should closely monitor you for signs and symptoms of a gastrointestinal (GI) bleed.
  • Aricept should be used with caution in people with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or other obstructive-type lung diseases. Your healthcare provider should closely monitor your condition while you are taking Aricept.
  • Aricept has the potential to cause seizures (convulsions). However, seizure activity may also be because of Alzheimer's disease. If you have a seizure disorder or have had a head injury or unstable metabolic conditions, you should use caution while taking Aricept and report any seizures to your healthcare provider.
  • Aricept may cause bladder obstruction (which causes difficulty passing urine). If you have any kind of bladder problem, Aricept may make your condition worse. Your healthcare provider may choose to monitor your condition more closely.
  • Aricept oral solution (but not other forms of Aricept) contains a sulfite as an inactive ingredient. This is important for people with a sulfite allergy.
  • You may experience some weight loss while taking Aricept. You or your healthcare provider should monitor your weight during your Alzheimer's treatment.
  • Aricept is a pregnancy Category C medicine. This means it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not currently known (see Aricept and Pregnancy).
  • It is not known whether Aricept passes through breast milk (see Aricept and Breastfeeding).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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