Aricept (donepezil) is a prescription drug that’s used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. This drug can interact with other medications and some supplements. For example, Aricept can interact with ibuprofen and certain antidepressants.
Aricept contains the active ingredient* donepezil. The drug comes as a tablet you swallow and as a tablet that dissolves on your tongue.
An interaction can occur because one substance causes another substance to have a different effect than expected. Interactions can also occur if you have certain health conditions.
Keep reading to learn about Aricept’s possible interactions. And for more information about Aricept, including details about its uses, see this article.
* An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.
Certain health conditions or other factors could raise your risk of harm if you take Aricept. In such cases, your doctor may not prescribe Aricept for you. These are known as contraindications. There’s one contraindication for Aricept, which is described below.
If you’ve had an allergic reaction. If you have had an allergic reaction to Aricept or any of its ingredients, your doctor likely won’t prescribe Aricept. This is because taking the drug could cause another allergic reaction. You can ask your doctor about other treatments that may be better options for you.
Aricept is not known to interact with alcohol. But if you have Alzheimer’s disease (which Aricept treats), it’s usually recommended that you avoid drinking alcohol. This is because alcohol can worsen balance and memory problems that your Alzheimer’s may cause.
Drinking alcohol with Aricept may also raise your risk of certain side effects from Aricept, such as nausea.
Talk with your doctor about whether it’s safe for you to drink alcohol while taking Aricept for Alzheimer’s.
Before you start taking Aricept, tell your doctor and pharmacist about any prescription, over-the-counter, or other drugs you take. Sharing this information with them may help prevent possible interactions. (To learn whether Aricept interacts with supplements, herbs, and vitamins, see the “Are there other interactions with Aricept?” section below.)
If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
The table below lists drugs that may interact with Aricept (donepezil). Keep in mind that this table does not include all drugs that may interact with Aricept. For more information about some of these interactions, see the “Drug interactions explained” section below.
|Drug group or drug name||Drug examples||What can happen|
|anticholinergics||• amantadine (Gocovri, Osmolex ER)|
• cyclobenzaprine (Amrix)
• solifenacin (Vesicare)
|can make both Aricept and anticholinergics less effective|
|nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)||• aspirin|
• ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
• naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)
|can increase the risk of certain side effects from NSAIDs and Aricept|
|beta-blockers||• atenolol (Tenormin)|
• propranolol (Inderal LA, Innopran XL, others)
|can increase the risk of certain side effects from beta-blockers|
|drugs for irregular heart rhythm||• amiodarone (Pacerone)|
• disopyramide (Norpace)
|can increase the risk of certain side effects from all drugs for irregular heart rhythm and can make Aricept, quinidine, and disopyramide less effective than usual|
|certain other heart medications||• digoxin (Lanoxin)|
• ivabradine (Corlanor)
|can raise the risk of certain side effects from heart medications|
|certain antipsychotics||• aripiprazole (Abilify)|
• asenapine (Saphris, Secuado)
|can increase the risk of certain side effects from antipsychotics|
|certain antidepressants||• citalopram (Celexa) • escitalopram (Lexapro)|
|can raise the risk of certain side effects from antidepressants and can make Aricept less effective|
|certain antihistamines||• chlorpheniramine|
|can make both Aricept and antihistamines less effective|
|certain antibiotics||• clarithromycin|
• azithromycin (Zithromax)
|can increase the risk of side effects from antibiotics|
Learn more about certain drug interactions that can occur with Aricept.
Interaction with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Aricept can interact with NSAIDs, which are pain relievers that also reduce inflammation (swelling). Some NSAIDs are used for pain and inflammation and are prescribed by doctors. Other NSAIDs are over-the-counter medications for cold, flu, hay fever, and pain.
Examples of NSAID medications include:
What could happen
NSAIDs and Aricept can both cause ulcers (small sores) or bleeding in your stomach or intestines. Taking Aricept with an NSAID can raise your risk of these side effects.
What you can do
Before taking any over-the-counter medications with Aricept, be sure to check the ingredients to see if it contains an NSAID. Talk with your doctor before taking any NSAID-containing medications with Aricept.
If your doctor recommends taking an NSAID with Aricept, tell them right away if you develop any symptoms of ulcers or bleeding in your stomach or intestines. These may include:
- abdominal pain
- acid reflux
- vomiting blood or a substance that looks like coffee grounds
- black or tar-like stools
Interaction with certain antidepressants
Depression, anxiety, and agitation are common among people with Alzheimer’s disease. Doctors may sometimes prescribe antidepressants to treat these conditions in people with Alzheimer’s who take Aricept. However, certain antidepressants can interact with Aricept.
Examples of antidepressants that can interact with Aricept include:
What could happen
In rare cases, Aricept may cause a type of irregular heart rhythm called long QT syndrome. Certain antidepressants, such as citalopram and escitalopram, can also cause this side effect in rare cases. Taking Aricept with one of these antidepressants can raise your risk of long QT syndrome.
Aricept works by increasing the level of a chemical in your brain called acetylcholine. Certain other antidepressants, such as amoxapine, can block the action of acetylcholine. Taking Aricept with one of these antidepressants could make Aricept less effective.
What you can do
If you need to take an antidepressant with Aricept, your doctor will usually prescribe one that’s less likely to interact with Aricept. They may also monitor your heart rate and regularly check that both medications are working for you.
If you take Aricept with an antidepressant, tell your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of an irregular heart rhythm. These may include:
- feeling like your heart is racing, fluttering, or skipping beats
You should also tell your doctor if you think that the medications aren’t working for you.
Interaction with certain antihistamines
Aricept may interact with certain antihistamines, which are medications used to treat allergies. Some are also used for other conditions, such as motion sickness. Doctors may prescribe antihistamines, but some can also be bought over the counter.
Certain antihistamines can interact with Aricept. Examples include:
- meclizine (Antivert)
What could happen
Aricept works by increasing the level of a chemical in your brain called acetylcholine. Certain antihistamines can block the action of acetylcholine. Taking Aricept with one of these antihistamines could make both Aricept and the antihistamine less effective.
What you can do
It is recommended that you avoid the combination if possible. But if you need a treatment for allergies or motion sickness while taking Aricept, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can recommend a medication that’s less likely to interact with Aricept.
Aricept may have other interactions. They could occur with supplements, foods, vaccines, or even lab tests. See below for details. Note that the information below does not include all other possible interactions with Aricept.
Does Aricept interact with supplements?
Before you start taking Aricept, talk with your doctor and pharmacist about any supplements, herbs, and vitamins you take. Sharing this information with them may help you avoid possible interactions.
If you have questions about interactions that may affect you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Aricept interactions with herbs
Combining Aricept with St. John’s wort could make your body break down Aricept too quickly. This could lower the levels of Aricept in your system, which may make the drug less effective.
If you take St. John’s wort or any other herbs, talk with your doctor before starting Aricept treatment.
Aricept and vitamins
There are currently no reports of Aricept interacting with vitamins. But this doesn’t mean that vitamin interactions won’t be recognized in the future.
For this reason, it’s still important to check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any of these products with Aricept.
Does Aricept interact with food?
There are currently no reports of Aricept interacting with food. If you have questions about eating certain foods during your treatment with Aricept, talk with your doctor.
Does Aricept interact with vaccines?
There are currently no reports of Aricept interacting with vaccines. If you have questions about getting certain vaccines during your treatment with Aricept, talk with your doctor.
Does Aricept interact with lab tests?
There are currently no reports of Aricept interacting with lab tests. If you have questions about having certain lab tests during your treatment with Aricept, talk with the healthcare professional ordering the test.
Does Aricept interact with cannabis or CBD?
There are currently no reports of Aricept interacting with cannabis (commonly called marijuana) or cannabis products such as cannabidiol (CBD). But as with any drug or supplement, talk with your doctor before using cannabis with Aricept.
Note: Cannabis is illegal at a federal level but is legal in many states to varying degrees.
Certain medical conditions or other health factors may raise the risk of interactions with Aricept. Before taking Aricept, talk with your doctor about your health history. They’ll determine whether Aricept is right for you.
Health conditions or other factors that might interact with Aricept include:
Heart problems. Aricept may cause certain heart problems months to years after you start treatment. These problems include slow heart rate, heart block, or abnormal heart rhythm. If you already have a heart problem, such as a slow or irregular heart rate, Aricept could make your condition worse. Talk with your doctor about whether Aricept is right for you.
Liver problems. Aricept is broken down by your liver. If you have a liver problem, Aricept levels could build up in your body. This could raise your risk of side effects from Aricept. There have also been reports of people developing liver problems such as hepatitis. If you have a liver condition, talk with your doctor about whether Aricept is right for you.
Lung problems. Aricept works by increasing the level of acetylcholine, an important chemical needed in your brain. Acetylcholine also causes inflammation and tightening of the lungs in people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If you have any of these lung problems, Aricept could worsen your condition. Talk with your doctor about whether Aricept is right for you.
Stomach ulcer. Aricept may cause ulcers (small sores) or bleeding in your stomach or intestines. If you’ve ever had an ulcer in your stomach or intestines, you may have a higher risk of this side effect. Talk with your doctor about whether Aricept is right for you.
Seizure disorders. Aricept may cause seizures in some people. If you have a seizure disorder such as epilepsy, you may have a higher risk of a seizure with Aricept. Your doctor can determine whether Aricept is safe for you to take.
Low body weight. If you weigh less than 55 kilograms (about 121 pounds), you may be more likely to have side effects with Aricept. Aricept can also cause weight loss in some people, which may be an issue if you already have a low body weight. Talk with your doctor about whether Aricept is right for you.
Pregnancy. It’s not known whether Aricept is safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy, talk with your doctor about your treatment options.
Breastfeeding. It’s not known whether it’s safe to take Aricept while breastfeeding. If you’re breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed, talk with your doctor about your options.
Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Aricept or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Aricept. This is because taking the drug could cause another allergic reaction. You can ask your doctor about other treatments that may be better choices for you.
Upcoming surgery. Aricept can interact with certain medications that may be used during surgery. If you have a surgery planned, tell the surgeon that you take Aricept. They can be sure to use medications for your surgery that don’t interact with Aricept.
Taking certain steps can help you avoid interactions with Aricept. Before starting treatment, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Things to discuss with them include:
- Whether you drink alcohol or use cannabis.
- Other medications you take, as well as any vitamins, supplements, and herbs. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you fill out a
- What to do if you start taking a new drug during your Aricept treatment.
It’s also important to understand Aricept’s
If you have trouble reading or understanding this information, your doctor or pharmacist can help.
Taking Aricept exactly as prescribed can also help prevent interactions.
If you still have questions about Aricept and its possible interactions, talk with your doctor.
Questions you may want to ask your doctor include:
- Does my risk of interactions depend on my dosage of Aricept?
- Will I need extra monitoring if I take Aricept with a drug it interacts with?
- Do other Alzheimer’s drugs have similar interactions to Aricept?
To learn more about Aricept, see these articles:
- All About Aricept
- Side Effects of Aricept: What You Need to Know
- Dosage for Aricept: What You Need to Know
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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.