The use of ARICEPT in patients with severe Alzheimer's dementia, other types of dementia or other types of memory impairment (e.g., age-related cognitive decline), has not been investigated.
Anaesthesia: ARICEPT, as a cholinesterase inhibitor, is likely to exaggerate succinylcholine-type muscle relaxation during anaesthesia.
Cardiovascular Conditions: Because of their pharmacological action, cholinesterase inhibitors may have vagotonic effects on heart rate (e.g., bradycardia). The potential for this action may be particularly important to patients with "sick sinus syndrome" or other supraventricular cardiac conduction conditions, such as sinoatrial or atrioventricular block.
There have been reports of syncope and seizures. In investigating such patients the possibility of heart block or long sinusal pauses should be considered.
Gastrointestinal Conditions: Patients at increased risk for developing ulcers, e.g., those with a history of ulcer disease or those receiving concurrent nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), should be monitored for symptoms. However, the clinical studies with ARICEPT showed no increase, relative to placebo, in the incidence of either peptic ulcer disease or gastrointestinal bleeding.
Genitourinary: Although not observed in clinical trials of ARICEPT, cholinomimetics may cause bladder outflow obstruction.
Neurological Conditions: Seizures: Cholinomimetics are believed to have some potential to cause generalised convulsions. However, seizure activity may also be a manifestation of Alzheimer's disease.
Cholinomimetics may have the potential to exacerbate or induce extrapyramidal symptoms
Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS): NMS, a potentially life-threatening condition characterised by hyperthermia, muscle rigidity, autonomic instability, altered consciousness and elevated serum creatine phosphokinase levels, has been reported to occur very rarely in association with donepezil, particularly in patients also receiving concomitant antipsychotics. Additional signs may include myoglobinuria (rhabdomyolysis) and acute renal failure. If a patient develops signs and symptoms indicative of NMS, or presents with unexplained high fever without additional clinical manifestations of NMS, treatment should be discontinued.
Pulmonary Conditions: Because of their cholinomimetic actions, cholinesterase inhibitors should be prescribed with care to patients with a history of asthma or obstructive pulmonary disease.
The administration of ARICEPT concomitantly with other inhibitors of acetylcholinesterase, agonists or antagonists of the cholinergic system should be avoided.
Severe Hepatic Impairment: There are no data for patients with severe hepatic impairment.
Mortality in Vascular Dementia Clinical Trials
Three clinical trials of 6 months duration were conducted studying individuals meeting the NINDS-AIREN criteria for probable or possible vascular dementia (VaD). The NINDS-AIREN criteria are designed to identify patients whose dementia appears to be due solely to vascular causes and to exclude patients with Alzheimer's disease. In the first study, the mortality rates were 2/198 (1.0%) on donepezil hydrochloride 5 mg, 5/206 (2.4%) on donepezil hydrochloride 10 mg and 7/199 (3.5%) on placebo. In the second study, the mortality rates were 4/208 (1.9%) on donepezil hydrochloride 5 mg, 3/215 (1.4%) on donepezil hydrochloride 10 mg and 1/193 (0.5%) on placebo. In the third study, the mortality rates were 11/648 (1.7%) on donepezil hydrochloride 5 mg and 0/326 (0%) on placebo. The mortality rate for the three VaD studies combined in the donepezil hydrochloride group (1.7%) was numerically higher than in the placebo group (1.1%), however, this difference was not statistically significant. The majority of deaths in patients taking either donepezil hydrochloride or placebo appear to result from various vascular related causes, which could be expected in this elderly population with underlying vascular disease. An analysis of all serious non-fatal and fatal vascular events showed no difference in the rate of occurrence in the donepezil hydrochloride group relative to placebo.
In pooled Alzheimer's disease studies (n=4146), and when these Alzheimer's disease studies were pooled with other dementia studies including the vascular dementia studies (total n=6888), the mortality rate in the placebo groups numerically exceeded that in the donepezil hydrochloride groups.
This medicinal product contains lactose. Patients with rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, the Lapp lactase deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption should not take this medicine.