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Aricept (Donezepil), which is marketed by Pfizer and Eisai, is primarily used for the treatment of Alzheimers disease. It works by increasing cortical acetylcholine, a chemical believed to be important for thinking, reasoning, and memory retention. Its efficacy, however, is disputed. And despite some evidence of improved cognitive function in patients with severe Alzheimers, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only approved Aricept for mild to moderate cases until recently.
Two studies conducted by researchers at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, in fact, found that anticholinergic medications such as Aricept may adversely affect thinking skills and decrease the daily physical activities of elderly patients. Other studies have suggested other potential serious side effects associated with Aricept, including:
- Vomiting (may include blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds)
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle cramps
- Bloody, tarry or black stools
- Difficult or painful urination
- Seizure (convulsions or black-out)
- Heart disease
There is also a risk of an allergic reaction to Aricept. Signs of a possible allergic reaction include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat
Another danger of taking Aricept is that there is a high risk of an adverse reaction when combined with other medications, especially tolterodine, oxybutynin, and other drugs used to control incontinence. Shockingly, about one third of patients with dementia take these types of medications.
If you or a loved one is suffering from any serious side effects while, or after, taking Aricept, you should contact your, or your loved ones, health care provider. You may also be entitled to compensation.
We suggest that you contact a qualified pharmaceutical injury attorney to evaluate your case without delay. By law, there may be time limits by which you may file a claim.