Aricept (donepezil hydrochloride): drug treatment for Alzheimer’s

Overview

Donepezil hydrochloride (marketed as Aricept) is one of a group of three drugs for people with Alzheimer's disease called cholinesterase inhibitors. The other two are called rivastigmine (common brand name Exelon) and galantamine hydrobromide (common brand name Reminyl).

For the purposes of this information sheet, donepezil hydrochloride will be referred to as Aricept, since it is the brand most people will be familiar with, although other brands may become available when the UK patent expires in February 2012.

Aricept is the name given to the particular brand of donepezil hydrochloride produced by a company called Eisai Ltd. It is licensed for the treatment of mild to moderately severe Alzheimer's disease.

Aricept is not claimed to be a cure for Alzheimer's disease. It treats the symptoms only and there is no evidence that it could halt or reverse the process of brain cell damage that causes Alzheimer's disease.

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