|Precaution on Special Populations
|Precaution Concerning Dosage & Administration (N/A)
|Precaution Concerning Use (N/A)
Anesthesia: Donepezil hydrochloride, as a cholinesterase inhibitor, is likely to exaggerate succinylcholine-type muscle relaxation during anesthesia.
Gastrointestinal Conditions: Cholinomimetics may promote gastric acid production. Therefore, patients should be monitored closely for symptoms of active or occult gastrointestinal bleeding, especially those at increased risk for developing ulcers, e.g., those with a history of ulcer disease or those receiving concurrent nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Clinical studies of donepezil hydrochloride at a dose of 5 mg/day to 10 mg/day have shown no increase, relative to placebo, in the incidence of either peptic ulcer disease or gastrointestinal bleeding. Donepezil hydrochloride, as a predictable consequence of its pharmacological properties, has been shown to produce diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. These effects, when they occur, appear more frequently with the 10 mg/day dosage than with the 5 mg/day dosage. Although in most cases, these effects have been mild and transient, sometimes lasting one to three weeks, and have resolved during continued use of donepezil hydrochloride, patients should be observed closely at the initiation of treatment and after dose increases.
Neurological Conditions: Cholinomimetics are believed to have some potential to cause generalised convulsions. However, seizure activity may also be a manifestation of Alzheimer’s Disease. In patients with dementia with Lewy bodies, this drug has tended to increase the incidence of worsening extrapyramidal disorder if the patient has an extrapyramidal disorder that limits activities of daily living or requires medical treatment. Thus, patients should be carefully observed to ensure that symptoms do not become severe, and appropriate measures, such as dose reduction and discontinuation, should be taken according to patients’ symptoms.
Effects on ability to drive and use machines: Donepezil has minor or moderate influence on the ability to drive and use machines. Dementia may cause impairment of driving performance or compromise the ability to use machinery. Furthermore, donepezil can induce fatigue, dizziness and muscle cramps, mainly when initiating or increasing the dose. The treating physician should routinely evaluate the ability of patients on donepezil to continue driving or operating complex machines.
Precautions on Special Populations
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.
Severe Hepatic Impairment: There are no data for patients with severe hepatic impairment.
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 Donepezil hydrochloride concomitantly with other inhibitors of acetylcholinesterase, agonists or antagonists of the cholinergic system should be avoided.
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.