donepezil, Aricept, Aricept ODT (cont.)

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DRUG INTERACTIONS: Drugs with anti-cholinergic properties that can cross into the brain, such as atropine, benztropine (Cogentin), and trihexyphenidyl (Artane) counteract the effects of donepezil and should be avoided during therapy with donepezil.

Donepezil is metabolized (eliminated) by enzymes in the liver. The rate of metabolism of donepezil may be increased by medications that increase the amounts of these enzymes, such as carbamazepine (Tegretol), dexamethasone (Decadron), phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin), and rifampin (Rifadin). By increasing elimination, these drugs may reduce the effects of donepezil.

Ketoconazole (Nizoral) has been shown to block the enzymes in the liver that metabolize donepezil. Therefore, concurrent use of ketoconazole and donepezil may result in increased concentrations of donepezil in the body and possibly lead to donepezil side effects. Quinidine (Quinidex, Quinaglute) also has been shown to inhibit the enzymes that metabolize donepezil and may cause donepezil side effects.

PREGNANCY: It is not known whether donepezil is harmful to the fetus. Safe use during pregnancy has not been established.

NURSING MOTHERS: It is not known whether the donepezil is secreted into breast milk or if breastfeeding while taking donepezil is safe for the nursing infant.

SIDE EFFECTS: The most frequently reported side effects associated with donepezil include headache, generalized pain, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, muscle cramping, joint pain, insomnia, and increased frequency of urination. Seizures, fainting, abnormal heart beats, and stomach ulcers also may occur. Tacrine (Cognex), another anticholinesterase medication used in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, is associated with liver toxicity. Donepezil does not appear to be associated with liver toxicity.

Reference: FDA Prescribing Information


Last Editorial Review: 1/12/2012



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