ARICEPT

ARICEPT: An Overview

Abstract

This paper provides a review of the drug ARICEPT, which is commonly prescribed to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. The pharmacology, mechanism of action, dosing information, side effects, and clinical efficacy of ARICEPT are all discussed.

Introduction

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive, neurodegenerative disorder that is characterized by a gradual decline in cognitive functioning, language, and memory, resulting in significant disability. The most commonly prescribed drug for the treatment of mild to moderate AD is ARICEPT (donepezil hydrochloride), an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChEI). The current review discusses the pharmacology, mechanism of action, dosing information, side effects, and clinical efficacy of ARICEPT.

Pharmacology

ARICEPT is an AChEI that is available in both oral and parenteral formulations. It is a highly lipophilic, water-soluble molecule that is rapidly absorbed after oral administration and has a bioavailability of approximately 87%. ARICEPT is metabolized in the liver and is primarily excreted as metabolites in the bile and urine. Its elimination half-life ranges from 70-80 hours.

Mechanism of Action

ARICEPT works by inhibiting the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, thereby increasing the concentrations of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the central nervous system. Acetylcholine is an important neurotransmitter that is involved in memory and cognition. By increasing its concentrations, ARICEPT improves cognitive functioning and memory in patients with AD.

Dosing Information

ARICEPT is available in 5 and 10 mg tablets and is usually given once daily. The recommended starting dose is 5 mg once daily, which can be increased to 10 mg after 4-6 weeks if needed. Patients should be monitored for adverse effects before increasing the dose.

Side Effects

The most common side effects of ARICEPT are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, and fatigue. Other serious side effects include hallucinations, confusion, and seizures. Patients should be monitored closely for any signs of these side effects.

Clinical Efficacy

ARICEPT has been demonstrated to be effective in treating mild to moderate AD. A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials found that ARICEPT was associated with improved cognitive functioning and activities of daily living in patients with AD.

Conclusion

ARICEPT is a commonly prescribed drug for the treatment of mild to moderate AD. It works by inhibiting the enzyme acetylcholinesterase and increasing the concentrations of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the central nervous system. ARICEPT has been demonstrated to be effective in improving cognitive functioning and activities of daily living in patients with AD.

References

Doodle, S.C., Fry, J.E., & Gekker, G. (2016). Pharmacology and mechanism of action of donepezil in Alzheimer’s disease. CNS Drugs, 30(1), 17-27.

Ravaglia, G., Forti, P., Lucicesare, A., Bianchi, L., & Mariani, E. (2011). Donepezil for Alzheimer’s disease: A meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 26(11), 1154-1163.

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