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Mum's just been given Aricept


Registered User
Jul 30, 2006
Hello everyone,

I just stumbled upon this fantastic forum and have already found lots of answers to my questions...Thank you.

My main worry at the moment is Aricept.
Mum was diagnosed on Thursday and started on the Aricept 5mg on Friday. She is suffering terrible side effects, we were warned that she could but didn't expect her to be SO bad. Nausia, vomiting, sweating, eyes swelling and more confused than normal.

At the moment Mum lives alone in a warden aided bungalow and usually ticks along nicely with help from me, today she couldn't even find the bedroom.

Can anyone tell me how long the side effects usually last for (one of those questions I meant to ask the Doctor) and is Aricept worth it?
I am considering not giving her any more?

I have tried contacting Nhs direct they said to speak to her Doctor and give her paracetamol. He is unavailable until Monday and our local Doctors put me through to an emergency number and they told me it wasn't an emergency. So I have been pulling my hair out I don't think Mum can cope with many more days like this.

I am dreading giving her the tablet tomorrow.

Hope someone can help!


Registered User
Jan 4, 2006
Hiya Kathryn,
Found this on the internet
SIDE EFFECTS: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, tiredness, drowsiness, trouble sleeping, or muscle cramps may occur as your body adjusts to the drug. These effects usually last 1-3 weeks and then subside. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: mental/mood changes (depression), slow/irregular heartbeat, fainting, vision problems, more frequent or trouble with urination, weight loss. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these highly unlikely but very serious side effects occur: black stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, severe stomach/abdominal pain, seizures. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
What about talking to the emergency pharmacist - I'm not sure how you find out which one is open. Swelling is not mentioned as a side effect.
Sorry can't be of anymore help but have had no experience of aricept.
Just wanted to let you know your post had been read, and welcome you to TP.
I am sure others will soon come up with some ideas.

Love Helen


Registered User
Jul 21, 2006
Hello Kathryn,
Welcome to the forum. My mum's been on Aricept for just a few weeks and hasn't had any side effects at all - but then, I can't detect much improvement in her memory and confusion either! I have heard from people who say Aricept is a godsend but I was also warned by the consultant before mum started that it wouldn't work for everyone. So you can't possibly decide on your own, without any context, whether it's going to be worth battling on through the distress you are obviously both experiencing.
These side effects sound pretty severe, even if they are mostly what's predicted at the start. If it were me I'd be wanting to talk to someone who could tell me whether this was within the 'normal' range of discomfort as soon as possible/before it went any further - emergency pharmacist today, doctor & consultant first thing tomorrow.

Hope it works out ok


Registered User
Jul 30, 2006
Thank you

Hello everyone,

Thank you for your advice, you all have been more help today than the NHS!

What a night! I have never seen anyone go downhill so fast, but this morning a little better, at least the swelling has gone.
Mum is only keeping water down but at least that's an improvement.

I tried the emergency pharmacist who wouldn't really give advice and just said if the doctor prescribed them then they should be ok for her but talk to the doctor monday.

First thing tomorrow I will be on the phone to the consultant!

I decided last night not to give her another tablet until I have spoken to the doctor. I would rather have the Alzheimer's than see her in the state she is in at the moment. At least she is happy normally. Even if the side effects only last a few more days I think Mum would end up in hospital, it just doesn't seem worth it.

Thank you all again, I will let you know the outcome of my conversation with the doctor.
Regards Kathryn

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006

My husband was prescibed Aricept, and we felt really lucky and grateful , as we`d heard of Post Code prescribing, and how people who were desperate for the drug were unable to get it.

Unfortunately, he had frightening and dramatic side effects from day 1. He hallucinated, saw tigers in the bedroom, strangers all over the house and kept pointing to `things`. He was in a constant state of distress.

He was taken off Aricept and tried with Reminyl, but they were just as bad. We both had sleepless nights, and emotional disturbances and decided, with the doctors that it just wasn`t worth putting him through all this trauma, on top of everything else.

Now he just takes anti-depressants. He sleeps well, has no hallucinations and hears no more voices. He is still sad and unhappy, frightened at times and has lots of confusion and memory loss. However, we do have some better days, some brighter moments and a good night`s sleep nearly every night.

I think some people really benefit from these drugs and do really well on them. Others seem unable to benefit from them. For them, it`s a painful process finding that out.

Grannie G


Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
I wish I had had some control over my mother's medication, the GP who came in November said "no more medication", but then you have to depend on all the experts, the psychiatrist at the second memory appt, the nurses who stopped coming because she was "so much better" (they should have know there are good days and bad days but no permanent improvement), the carer who talked about years of working with clients on Aricept etc. I expect they've all forgotten now.


Registered User
Jul 30, 2006
Finally got a doctor

Hello again,

I am fuming!!!!!:mad: :mad:

I finally managed to get hold of our local doctor this morning. Bearing in mind that Mum is 78 and hasn't managed to keep anything down other than a little water all weekend, the doctor wanted me to take her to the surgery:confused:

I explained that she could barely move let alone walk he seemed irritated and said 'well if you feel that you can't bring her to me, she will have to wait until I can get out to her and it could be much later today' I threated to phone for an ambulance and you guessed 20 minutes later he arrived.
He hardly spoke to me and said she probably had a virus and took several blood tests. I told him again about the Aricept which prompted him to get out a text book and read out the side effects. He said not to take them any more as they obviously didn't agree with her. At which point I felt like shouting 'well observed' He was just going to leave until I asked for something to stop her being sick, he almost threw the prescription at me.

Sorry to go on but he got me SO angry.

The consultant was back in his office this morning and was very nice and reassuring, pity he doesn't work weekends. I was amazed though that he wants to see Mum wednesday to discuss trying some other medication. I think we will give it a miss. I would rather Mum be happy and forgetful. She is wondering what she's done to get so poorly, but I did get a smile out of her this morning.
Hopefully the tablets for the sickness will work and we can build her up and get back to 'normal' soon.

I agree with you Grannie G it is a painful process finding out if the Aricept etc will suit. I think the anti depresseats are the way to go.


Registered User
Nov 28, 2005
Hi - I have just read all the posts with interest. I do wonder what dose was your Mother given - my husband started with 5 mg and when we knew he was ok on that amount it was increased to 10 mg per day. He has been fine but I am glad he started on the lower dosage. This may not help you but worth a thought. Best wishes. (thank goodness your consultant sounds ok - it is the opposite with us - a good GP but not so active consultant!). Beckyjan


Registered User
Jun 3, 2005
Hi Kathryn

Sorry to hear of your Mum's bad reaction to Aricept, and your doctor's appalling reaction and uncaring attitude! No wonder you're spitting blood.

My Mum has been on Aricept for 2 months (5mg per day) and the consultant who diagnosed her warned me about the possible nausea etc.
As Mum has a medical history of a peptic ulcer some years ago, our GP has given her Omeprazole (20mg) to take b4 she takes any new or strong medication. It's not actually a medicine in itself, but acts as a 'buffer' in the stomach to head off undesirable effects. I therefore used one of these before breakfast, so that was about 1/2 an hour before she took the Aricept. She hasn't had any digestive ill effects.

I appreciate that your Mum will probably be switched to a different medication now, but the information may be helpful to someone else reading this thread. It might be worth asking about using something like Omeprazole to avoid a similar reaction. Also make sure she has something in her stomach (like breakfast) before she takes her meds.

For the record, I haven't observed any beneficial effects either; if anything the memory deterioration seems to be happening more quickly, plus general anxiety. (She's not usually an anxious or nervy person) We see the consultant again Weds. 2nd Aug.

I hope the consultant can find something which helps your mum, without making her feel so awful!


Registered User
Mar 13, 2006
hi kamb27

i havent got any advice on aricept as mum has never taken that one, just wanted to say im sorry your mum has been so ill on it and how awfull the doctors attitude was to you, ive met a few doctors like that over the course of my mums illness.
being with your mum all the time i think you have a better understanding on whats right for her, but the attitude of " im too busy go somewhere else" makes my blood boil as well.
there are other meds out there that could benefit your mum though my mum has been through quite a few and theyre still changing them to suit it has given her a couple of stable weeks, but it is hit and miss im afraid untill they get the right combination.
hope thigs are ok soon.x

hi lynne
sorry to hear your mum isnt too good either, is your mum taking haloperidol as theyve just taken that off mum and started giving her a antidepressant for her anxiety weve had a few weeks of her being really frightened and anxious hopefully we'll see some sort of improvment
good luck weds x
take care


Registered User
Jul 21, 2006
Your doctor sounds like a prize git! It's not the medication that's the real problem you know (obviously reactions are going to be different - we are all individuals) it's the people who mediate it. I'd change my doctor after that , if I were you, and put it in writing exactly why!
On the other hand, as the consultant seems to be someone you CAN talk to, why not go along to see him on Wednesday and discuss ALL the options openly - including staying off medication - but maybe also including some of the other ways of coming at it that have been suggested in other posts? You don't have to do anything he tells you to in the end, after all, but now you have some context from other people, perhaps you might feel strong enough to talk to him on a level, and explore all the options with him, rather than just feeling you have to do what you are told. There could be something that could help after all, if you can work towards it together with care and consideration.

all the best


Registered User
Jul 30, 2006
Thank you

Hello everyone,

I would like to thank everyone who replied to my messages for all the advice you gave me, you were much more help than the NHS.
Mum is now recovered from taking the Aricept it took a while as she was convinced it was something she had eaten that had made her so ill, so I was having to put food in front of her and persuade her to eat it, freshly baked bread finally won her over ;)
I can't say that she has fully recovered from the side effects if anything I would say that it has left her with much worse memory than before.

The doctors were keen to try her on some other tablets, but I said NO WAY and said that if they insisted that she should try other tablets that they should admit her to hospital and they should deal with the side effects. I have never argued with a doctor before, mum brought me up well, but I had to stick up for mum and felt that they were treating her as an experiment.

To cut an even longer story short, they have given her stronger anti depressants and will keep an eye on her.
I wish that they had warned me how severe the side effects could be and then I could have been prepared and I certainly would have started mum on the tablets on a Monday and not Friday when it appears the NHS are unavailable. We both feel really let down by the NHS and without your advice I would have been pulling out even more of my hair.
Thank you again


Registered User
Sep 1, 2006

Mum, who has VD started these she had the first tablet, next morning felt a bit dizzy, had the 2nd tablet and within a few hours became very nauseous and pale and vomited, in fact, she nearly collapsed had I not put her to bed. I stopped the tablets immediately and contacted the medic who also advised me to stop the tablets. I was disappointed as I had high hopes for this medication, but unfortunately it was not to be. So very close supervision has to be given to the person with dementia who is given this tablet!


Registered User
Aug 20, 2006
How awful that people have had such bad experiences.

But one of the difficult things about these drugs is the very wide range of individual reactions to them.

My Dad started on a month of 5mg of Aricept a day, to make sure that he would tolerate the drug, and then went on to 10mg a day.

No side-effects whatsover, and a dramatic improvement - hardly any confusion and a much improved sense of time. Short-term memory remains about the same but we were told from the start that there is really nothing to be done in that area.

I am counting myself as very lucky that we have had such a beneficial effect.