Aricept, which is a prescription medicine, is used to treat symptoms related to Alzheimer's disease. The medication works by stopping a specific enzyme from breaking down acetylcholine in the brain, which can help improve memory, attention, reason, language, and the ability to perform simple tasks. Aricept comes as an oral tablet or an orally disintegrating tablet, and is available in several strengths.
What Is Aricept?
Aricept® (donepezil hydrochloride) is a prescription medication that is used to treat the symptoms of mild, moderate, or severe Alzheimer's disease. It is not a cure for Alzheimer's, but it can help improve memory, attention, reason, language, and the ability to perform simple tasks.
(Click Aricept Uses for more information on specific uses for Aricept.)
Who Makes Aricept?
Aricept is manufactured by Eisai, Inc., and marketed by Pfizer.
How Does Aricept Work?
Aricept is part of a class of drugs known as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. It works by stopping a specific enzyme (known as acetylcholinesterase) from breaking down acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is a chemical that aids in many brain functions, including memory, attention, reason, and language.
Patients with Alzheimer's generally have a decline in memory and learning that is related to the loss of acetylcholine in the brain. Since Aricept can prevent the breakdown of this chemical, more of it remains in the brain for a longer time. This helps to slow the decline in memory and learning, and allows a person with Alzheimer's symptoms to perform simple daily tasks. However, Aricept is not a cure for Alzheimer's and cannot slow the progression of the disease.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Aricept [package insert]. Woodcliff Lake, NJ: Eisai, Inc.;2010 July.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed August 22, 2013.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
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