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Aricept (Donepezil)

What is Aricept?

Aricept, also known as donepezil is a drug used to prevent or reduce the breakdown of a specific chemical component in the human brain. Aricept is a new reversible inhibitor of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase which is responsible for the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Aricept may cause a greater concentration of acetylcholine in the brain, thereby improving cholinergic function. Acetylcholine, associated with memory and learning, is in short supply in subjects with Alzheimer’s disease.

The neurons which are made of specialized brain cells, need to communicate constantly to distribute all the information from the brain to the rest of the body system. Thousands and thousands of reactions happen in order for a single thought to be formed, to establish their connections they need to send signals to each other and that’s the function of neurotransmitters like acetylcholine.

When there’s a breakdown in this chemical entity, neurons cannot communicate and send their signals through the brain and out to the rest of the body. The brain is the central motor of every single action, right? That is exactly what happens with patients diagnosed with dementia. There’s no recognition of signals and messages from the brain cells and that causes, slow or fast but continuous degradation of the central nervous system and all its functions, leading the person to lose little by little all his/her faculties and at last, his/her life.

Then you must be asking yourself and what is Aricept used for, then? Well, this drug offers a palliative treatment for dementia associated with Alzheimer, it won’t stop the disease, it’ll only buy time and improve some conditions that are present on the clinical case.

About the warnings and precautions regarding to the Aricept uses, there is no current study in humans that may prove possible harm to babies by the usage of this drug, nevertheless it is important to take precautions and talk to the doctor, because in some animal studies it has been established that this drug may in fact have some teratogenic effects. The use of Aricept is only valid when risks are overshadowed by benefits, if that’s not the case and to avoid further risks, do not take it during pregnancy or suspicion of it.

It is also, unknown if these drugs can pass into the breastmilk and affect the baby. However, caution is required by pharmaceutics and doctors.

Patients with cardiac problems should use this medicine with extreme care as it is proven to have some sort of influence on the cardiogenic system and may inhibit the correct functioning of the nodes leading to cases of bradycardia, tachycardia and other heart conduction abnormalities.

Aricept Side effects:

Here you have a list to check out some of the main and severe side effects of Aricept. Now, according to their severity and to your clinical history, the course of action that you’ll need to take will vary. Please have in mind that some side effects may not need medical attention. In fact, as your body adjusts to the drug, it’s totally normal to have some side effects that may eventually go away. However, if they continue or get worse, you should consult with doctor.
Some common side effects:
Diarrhea
Loss of appetite
Muscle cramps
Nausea
Insomnia
Weakness
Vomiting

Serious side effects:

Joint pain or swelling
Mental depression
Unusual pain
Unusual bleeding or bruising
Weight loss
Seizures
Fainting
Abnormal heart beats
Stomach ulcers.
If you have any of these symptoms you should stop taking the medication and call your doctor immediately.

Dosage

The recommended dose to start Aricept medication is 5 mg administered once a day in the evening and the maximum permitted dose is 10mg per day. Changes on the dose cannot be abrupt and patients that have been taking this drug in low doses should increase it slowly and with medical guidance. However the case is totally different for medium to severe Alzheimer’s disease patients who can take even, 23 mg of the medicine.

Always take exactly what the doctor recommends and do not exceed the time of treatment, also don’t interrupt it abruptly, even if you’re feeling better, your condition will not improve and you may suffer from other unnecessary complications for quitting abruptly and not gradually.

Overdose

In case of overdose or suspicion of it, please call the emergency room and your doctor.
Some overdose symptoms may include.
Severe nausea,
Vomiting,
Salivation,
Sweating,
Bradycardia,
Hypotension,
Respiratory depression,
Convulsions.

CAUTION: There’s a possibility of paralysis and increasing muscle weakness which may result in death if those symptoms affect the respiratory muscles.