There are more and more people like Diane Pozniak who are taking donepezil (Aricept) for memory loss. Some, like Diane, have very mild symptoms that fall beneath most clinicians' scanning radar, while others have more clear-cut symptoms that can be called mild to moderate memory loss without dementia. After all, if donepezil is successful in improving memory in a condition like Alzheimer's that is horrendously difficult to treat, why shouldn't it work as well, or even better, for milder forms of memory loss? As Diane's story demonstrates, there is a place for donepezil in such a situation. In fact, recent studies suggest that it has a broad array of actions in improving memory: patients with multiple sclerosis show improved memory on donepezil compared to placebo, and patients taking antidepressants and similar medications (some with known anticholinergic effects) report a subjective improvement in memory on donepezil. (There was no objective memory testing or placebo control in that study, so view the results with caution.)
Before you run off to get a prescription of donepezil (Aricept) from your doctor, it is important for you to understand exactly how cholinergic medications work; this will give you a sound basis on which to make your decision to take or not to take Aricept.
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