Donepezil Side Effects

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Sandra Says:

what are side effects when taking donepezil?

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My wife is 93 and suffered a stroke three years ago that left her with significant vascular dementia symptoms. She had already been diagnosed with early altzheimer three of four years earlier but had been able to function fairly well in daily tasks and our relationship was reasonable in most respects.

Following her stroke, she had little coherent memory of our life together, not able to identify her three daughters or even me frequently, not recognizing the house we have lived in for 20 years, etc. She did not recognize family members in picture, misidentified her daughters as her sister, did not recall that her parents and older sister having passed away years earlier. She had frequent periods of significant confusion. She could help set the table, fold laundry, make the bed and similar tasks.

In January 2014, the neurologist prescribed donepezil.

I am 93 also, and am her only caregiver. Over the past eight months, I believe her periods of significant confusion do not come as often. I believe she has more time of remembering who I am with real affection. In the night when we are both awake, she frequently reaches out and draws my face to hers and declares her great love. She sits beside me in our office when I am attending to necessary business with patience. I am convinced that she is more stabil that she was 18 months ago.

Physically she is strong, has not had colds, has had none of the side effects to the medication that are listed as possible. Her dental condition make it extremely difficult to eat but she does mince at scrmbled eggs and toast, and likes the sauces that go with various foods, and does eat some finely chopped foods. I give her 700 to 11 calories of diet drinks with chocolate icecream each day and she is maintaining her weight, about 98 pounds. She had gone down to 79 pounds in the hospital three years ago. She likes to ride in the car and we go to town to "eat" three times a week. Social contact with other people is stimulating to her and she is always gracious to people and thasnks me for helping in the smallest ways. She dresses herself, combs her hair reasonably, and shuffles around the house and after me much of the time.

I have to think the medication has helped her significantly. Last week we celebrated our 71st anniversary. She enjoyed the extra attention we received at Applebee's even if she didn't know what we were celebrating.

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David Says:

@Pappy G,

Thanks for sharing that feedback on Donepezil. From your description, it really sounds like your wife is doing a lot better now that she's been taking it for a while. 71 years of marriage is also an amazing accomplishment in life and my hat goes off to both of you for making it work through the good as well as the not so good of times. You're a true role model setting the standard for others and their life long commitments.


Side effects are a possible risk factor with just about all prescription medications. But like Pappy G said, it's also possible to not experience any of them during your time on the medication. As for finding a list of these side effects, you can also learn more about this drug on the page for Donepezil Details. Just scroll down to the section on "Adverse effects".

I hope this helps!

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David Says:

I am taking Donepezil HCL 10 mg tablets once a day at bedtime. Is shortness of breath one of the side effects of this medicine?

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