Dosing With Donepezil
The recommended dosing with donepezil starts at 5 mg once a day but may be increased after several weeks -- this gradual change decreases the risk of side effects. Donepezil comes in the form of oral tablets and orally disintegrating tablets. Your dosage should be taken every day at bedtime, with or without food.
The dose of donepezil (Aricept®) that your healthcare provider recommends will vary depending on a number of factors, including:
- How you respond to donepezil
- Other medical conditions you may have
- Other medications you may be currently taking.
As is always the case, do not adjust your donepezil dose unless your healthcare provider specifically instructs you to do so.
The recommended starting dose for people with Alzheimer's disease is donepezil 5 mg once a day, taken at bedtime. Your healthcare provider may choose to increase your dose to 10 mg once daily after you have been taking the 5-mg dose for at least four to six weeks. This helps to decrease the risk of experiencing a side effect. If necessary, your dosage may be further increased to donepezil 23 mg once daily, but only after you have been taking the 10-mg dose for at least three months.
Your healthcare provider may decide to decrease your dose or have you stop taking donepezil if a side effect occurs or if he or she feels you are no longer benefiting from the medication.
Some general considerations for people taking donepezil include:
- Donepezil comes in the form of an oral tablet or an orally disintegrating tablet. Make sure you follow the directions for the specific form of donepezil that you were prescribed.
- Donepezil should be taken once a day at bedtime, with or without food.
- If you are taking the regular tablet form of donepezil, it is recommended that you take it with a drink of water or other fluid. Do not crush, chew, split, or dissolve the regular tablets.
- If you are taking the orally disintegrating tablet form of donepezil, you should place the tablet on your tongue, allow it to dissolve, and then swallow. It is recommended that you drink a glass of water after the tablet has dissolved.
- Donepezil should be taken at the same time every day to help maintain an even level of medicine in the blood. Do not take it more often than directed.
- If you forget to take a dose of donepezil, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your normal dosing schedule. Never double your dose of donepezil at one time.
- For donepezil to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Donepezil will not work if you stop taking it.
- If you are unsure about anything related to donepezil or your donepezil dosage, please talk to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. Do not stop taking donepezil without first discussing it with your healthcare provider.