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Precautions and Warnings With Donepezil

There are numerous precautions and warnings with donepezil that you should be aware of before starting treatment, including knowing who should not take the medicine and certain side effects to look out for. The drug may potentially cause bladder obstructions, seizures, low blood pressure, or weight loss. People who are allergic to donepezil or any components of the drug should avoid taking the medication.

Donepezil: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

Prior to taking donepezil (Aricept®), 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, cirrhosis, or hepatitis
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Seizures or epilepsy
  • Stomach or intestinal disease, ulcers, or bleeding
  • An allergy to donepezil 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 Precautions and Warnings With Donepezil

Some donepezil warnings and precautions to be aware of include:
 
  • Donepezil can interact with certain medications (see Drug Interactions With Donepezil).
     
  • If you have severe liver disease, your healthcare provider may choose to start you on a lower dose of donepezil 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 donepezil. Donepezil may interact with some of the medicines used during surgery or dental procedures and cause unwanted side effects.
     
  • Donepezil 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.
     
  • Donepezil 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.
     
  • Donepezil 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 donepezil.
     
  • If you are taking donepezil 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.
     
  • Donepezil 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 donepezil.

 

  • Donepezil oral solution (but not other forms of donepezil) contains a sulfite as an inactive ingredient. This is important to note for people with a sulfite allergy.

 

  • Donepezil 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 donepezil and report any seizures to your healthcare provider.
     
  • Donepezil may cause bladder obstruction (which causes difficulty passing urine). If you have any kind of bladder problem, donepezil may make your condition worse. Your healthcare provider may choose to monitor your condition more closely.
     
  • You may experience some weight loss while taking donepezil. You or your healthcare provider should monitor your weight during your Alzheimer's treatment.

 

  • Donepezil is a pregnancy Category C medicine. This means it may not be safe for pregnant women, although the full risks are not known (see Aricept and Pregnancy).

     

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