How Long Does It Take To Work
It takes at least 2 weeks for Aricept to start working. It may take a few weeks or months before you notice any improvement in cognitive function .
Its important to know that you may not notice any improvement with Aricept. This is because the drug doesnt work the same for everyone with dementia due to Alzheimers disease.
Some peoples cognitive function seems to improve for a while with Aricept treatment. They may also be able to perform daily tasks better, such as making meals or doing laundry. Other people seem to stay the same for a while, but Aricept may help to slow their disease progression.
Even if you dont notice any change with Aricept, it may still be slowing the progression of your dementia symptoms.
Does Aricept Really Help Dementia
And in the study, those people who stayed on Aricept did better than those who stopped taking it. They scored higher on standard tests measuring their mental ability and also were better able to perform activities of daily living. These improvements, however, faded in the later stages of Alzheimers.
Longer Use Of Alzheimers Drug May Help Patients
Continued Treatment With Aricept Shows Some Merit
March 7, 2012 — The Alzheimerâs drug Aricept helps people with early to moderate signs of the disease maintain a higher level of function, but just how long the drug continues working is not fully understood. A new study may help clear up some confusion.
Aricept is the most widely prescribed medication in a class of Alzheimerâs drugs known as cholinesterase inhibitors. Close to 50% of people stop taking it within a year because of side effects such as weight loss, agitation, and fainting, or because they no longer see any improvements in their mental abilities.
This raises the question of when to stop and what to do next.
Now a new study may provide some much-needed clarity. Aricept can remain effective into the later stages of Alzheimerâs. Adding another drug called Namenda does little to improve these results, even though the combination is common practice.
On its own, however, Namenda may provide some benefits, according to the research. Namenda works on the brain differently than Aricept does. Still, the main goal of this research was to focus more on Ariceptâs effectiveness than Namendaâs.
And in the study, those people who stayed on Aricept did better than those who stopped taking it. They scored higher on standard tests measuring their mental ability and also were better able to perform activities of daily living.
These improvements, however, faded in the later stages of Alzheimerâs.
Tips For Taking Medicines For Dementia
The person with dementia may need support to manage their medications. You may find it helpful to do the following:
- Develop a routine for giving the medication: ask the pharmacist if medications should be taken at a certain time of day or with our without food. Then create a daily ritual. This might involve taking medications with breakfast or right before bed.
- Pill boxes or blister packs: ask your pharmacist about aids to help you to give medication as prescribed, eg, using pill boxes or blister packs. Read more about remembering to take your medicine.
- Swallowing difficulties: if swallowing is a problem,;talk to your pharmacist or doctor. Read more about difficulty swallowing medicines.
- Side effects: ask your doctor or pharmacist about what side effects might occur with the medication and what you should do if you get them. Some dementia medicines may make the symptoms worse, so it’s important to be aware of this and let your doctor know. Read more about medicines and side effects.
- Get the treatment reviewed regularly: a medicine which is useful may not continue to be effective indefinitely because of the progressive changes to the brain caused by dementia.
- Keep a record of all medications, including over-the-counter medicines such as pain relievers, cold medicines and antacids. Also include creams or eye ointments, vitamins, herbal supplements and complementary medicines. Take this record to medical appointments.
Can Aricept Be Crushed Split Or Chewed
Aricept oral tablets that contain 5 milligrams or 10 mg of the active drug ingredient may be crushed or split. Most people swallow these whole. If your doctor advises you to do so, you can cut the 5-mg or 10-mg tablets in half.
If you take the 23-mg oral tablets, you should swallow each tablet whole. You should not crush, cut, or chew Aricept tablets that come in this strength.
There are no known interactions between alcohol and Aricept.
But alcohol use can cause some of the same side effects as Aricept. Examples include:
- trouble sleeping
Also, over time, drinking too much alcohol can lead to liver problems. Liver damage, such as alcoholic cirrhosis, could possibly increase your risk for side effects from Aricept.
If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor before taking Aricept. They can advise you on whether its safe for you to drink any amount of alcohol with your medication.
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What Type Of Drug Is Aricept Classified As Is It A Psychotropic Drug
Aricept And Herbs And Supplements
There arent any herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Aricept. But St. Johns wort, an herbal remedy thought to ease depression, may interact with Aricept. This herb could affect how well the drug works.
Before using any herbs or supplements while taking Aricept, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
What Other Information Should I Know
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Mild To Moderate Alzheimers Disease
The effectiveness of Aricept as a treatment for mild to moderate Alzheimers disease is demonstrated by the results of two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical investigations in patients with Alzheimers disease . The mean age of patients participating in Aricept trials was 73 years with a range of 50 to 94. Approximately 62% of patients were women and 38% were men. The racial distribution was white 95%, black 3%, and other races 2%.
The higher dose of 10 mg did not provide a statistically significantly greater clinical benefit than 5 mg. There is a suggestion, however, based upon order of group mean scores and dose trend analyses of data from these clinical trials, that a daily dose of 10 mg of Aricept might provide additional benefit for some patients. Accordingly, whether or not to employ a dose of 10 mg is a matter of prescriber and patient preference.
Study Outcome MeasuresIn each study, the effectiveness of treatment with Aricept was evaluated using a dual outcome assessment strategy.
The ability of Aricept to produce an overall clinical effect was assessed using a Clinicians Interview-Based Impression of Change that required the use of caregiver information, the CIBIC-plus. The CIBIC-plus is not a single instrument and is not a standardized instrument like the ADAS-cog. Clinical trials for investigational drugs have used a variety of CIBIC formats, each different in terms of depth and structure.
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Carcinogenesis Mutagenesis Impairment Of Fertility
No evidence of carcinogenic potential was obtained in an 88-week carcinogenicity study of donepezil conducted in mice at oral doses up to 180 mg/kg/day , or in a 104-week carcinogenicity study in rats at oral doses up to 30 mg/kg/day .
Donepezil was negative in a battery of genotoxicity assays .
Donepezil had no effect on fertility in rats at oral doses up to 10 mg/kg/day when administered to males and females prior to and during mating and continuing in females through implantation.
Does Aricept Treat Depression Or Parkinsons Disease
Aricept is FDA-approved to treat only dementia due to Alzheimers disease. Its not approved to treat other types of dementia or depression.
But Aricept may sometimes be prescribed off-label for other types of dementia. Off-label drug use means using a drug for a purpose other than what its been approved for by the FDA. These uses may include dementia associated with Parkinsons disease. Some clinical studies suggest that Aricept may be beneficial for this use, but more research is needed to confirm this.
Aricept is not known to be effective for depression. In fact, it may cause depression as a rare but serious side effect.
A looked at whether donepezil, taken with antidepressants, could help improve cognitive function in adults with depression. The results showed that donepezil was no better than a placebo .
If you have questions about treatment options for your condition, talk with your doctor.
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What To Do If Your Older Adult Is Taking Anticholinergic Medications
NEVER start, stop, or adjust the dosage for any medications without talking with your older adults doctor.
The first step is to discuss any medication concerns with the doctor as soon as possible. Ask them to explain the risks versus the benefits and to make a recommendation.
Because many seniors have multiple health conditions, they may be taking more than one type of anticholinergic medication.
One anticholinergic drug might not be harmful, but the side effects and doses can add up across different medications.;
Thats why its so important for a doctor to review allthe medications that your older adult takes.
And if different drugs are being prescribed by different doctors, ask their primary physician to review the full medication list, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements.
This could also be a good opportunity for the doctor to safely discontinue drugs that are no longer needed.
Aricept For Dementia Due To Alzheimers Disease
Dementia is a decline in cognitive function. Cognitive function describes your ability to think, talk, comprehend, and remember.
Alzheimers disease is a progressive condition that affects the brain. Its called a progressive condition because the symptoms, usually mild at first, get worse over time. Dementia is a symptom of Alzheimers disease.
The cause of Alzheimers disease isnt fully understood. Its thought to involve changes that take place in the brain as a result of dying brain cells.
There is no cure for Alzheimers disease. But Aricept can help slow progression of dementia symptoms in some people.
Effectiveness for dementia due to Alzheimers disease
Aricept has been shown to be an effective treatment for dementia due to Alzheimers disease in clinical studies.
But this drug doesnt work the same for everyone with Alzheimers disease. Some peoples cognitive function seems to improve for a while with Aricept treatment. They may also be able to perform daily tasks better, such as making meals or doing laundry. Other people seem to stay the same for a while, but Aricept may help to slow their disease progression.
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The Bottom Line On Medications To Treat Dementia
In short: the medications we currently have available to treat Alzheimers disease and other medications may help a little. The main harm people experience will be to their wallets. Dont expect these drugs to work miracles and consider stopping them if you are concerned about drug costs or pill burden.
And above all, dont forget to think beyond medications, when it comes to optimizing brain function and delaying cognitive decline in dementia.
This article was first published in 2016. It was reviewed and minor updates were made in June 2021.
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You may ask, How long does it take for Aricept to take effect?
The medication may take as long as 12 weeks to begin working, and the type and length of response as well as the time it takes for patients to respond to this medication will vary from person to person. Will this medication cure Alzheimers disease?
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What If I Forget To Take It
If you forget a dose of donepezil, skip the missed dose and take the next one at the normal time the next day.
Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose.
If you’ve forgotten to take your donepezil for more than a week, talk to your doctor before you take any more.
If you forget doses often, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask a doctor, pharmacist or dementia support group for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.
How Well Do Cholinesterase Inhibitors Work
This is a topic that has been intensively studied and somewhat debated. Of note, most major studies of cholinesterase inhibitors are industry-funded; only the AD2000 trial was not industry-funded.
Overall, in mild to moderate Alzheimers disease,;the average benefit seems to be a small improvement in cognition and ability to manage activities of daily living. The effect has been sometimes compared to a few months delay in progression of symptoms.
A 2008 review of the scientific evidence concluded that the effect of these drugs is statistically significant but clinically marginal.
But theres a catch to consider: studies also suggest that although a fair number of people seem to experience no benefit at all, up to 20% may show greater than usual response. So there seems to be some individual variability in how these drugs work for people.
It may also depend on the type of dementia a person has, with some studies suggesting cholinesterase inhibitors have an effect in many people with Parkinsons disease dementia, and perhaps also dementia with Lewy bodies.
To date, we have not developed any good ways to tell ahead of time who will respond to these drugs.
So its important to follow a persons cognitive symptoms, and side-effects, once they start taking a cholinesterase inhibitor. If it doesnt seem to be helping, its reasonable to consider stopping the medication after a few months.
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New Research Links Certain Medications To Dementia Risk
A new study raises the possibility that certain medications may contribute to the risk of developing dementia.
The focus of this study was on medications with “anticholinergic” effects. These are drugs that block a chemical messenger called acetylcholine, which affects muscle activity in the digestive and urinary tracts, lungs, and elsewhere in the body. Its also involved in memory and learning.
Many medications have at least some anticholinergic effects, and its estimated that up to half of older adults in the US take one or more of these medications. Common examples include:
- amitriptyline, paroxetine, and bupropion
- oxybutynin and tolterodine
- diphenhydramine .
In this new study, researchers collected detailed information from more than 300,000 adults ages 65 and older, and compared medication use among those diagnosed with dementia with those who were not. Those who had taken any medication with anticholinergic activity were 11% more likely to be eventually diagnosed with dementia; for those drugs with the most anticholinergic effects, the risk of dementia was 30% greater. The largest impact was found for drugs commonly taken for depression, bladder problems, and Parkinsons disease; for antihistamines, and some other anticholinergic drugs, no increased risk of dementia was observed.
Do Any Vitamins Help Treat Dementia
Vitamin E which works as an anti-oxidant in the body has been studied for the treatment of Alzheimers, and may be beneficial.
In 2014, a large study of patients with moderate-to-severe Alzheimers disease found that daily treatment with 2000 IU/day of Vitamin E;resulted in less functional decline than treatment with placebo, memantine, or a combination of memantine and vitamin E.
Of note, since the study was conducted in the VA health system, most participants were men. And again, the benefit seen was modest.
It is not clear that vitamin E helps for milder Alzheimers, or mild cognitive impairment. Always talk to a doctor before trying vitamin E for brain health, as vitamin E can increase bleeding risk in some people.
No other vitamins have been shown to slow cognitive decline in Alzheimers or other dementias. In particular, although low vitamin D levels have been associated with a risk of developing dementia, no clinical research has shown that treatment with vitamin D helps people maintain cognitive function.
A study of vitamin B supplementation in the treatment of people with mild to moderate Alzheimers disease did not show any benefit. Note that participants in this study had normal vitamin B12 levels at baseline; the very common problem of vitamin B12 deficiency in older adults can cause or worsen cognitive problems.
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Dosage For Dementia Caused By Alzheimers Disease
- Mild to moderate Alzheimers disease: The typical starting dosage is 5 mg taken each evening just before going to bed. After 4 to 6 weeks, your doctor may increase your dosage to 10 mg per day if needed.
- Moderate to severe Alzheimers disease: The starting dosage is 5 mg taken in the evening just before going to bed. After 4 to 6 weeks, your doctor may increase your dosage to 10 mg per day if needed. After 3 months, your doctor may increase your dosage to 23 mg per day.
This drug hasnt been studied in children. It shouldnt be used in children under the age of 18 years.