“Donepezil — sold under the brand name Aricept — is one of a class of drugs known as cholinesterase inhibitors, which help restore levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is greatly diminished in Alzheimer's disease.
The six-month study, published Tuesday in the journal Neurology, involved 343 people with severe Alzheimer's disease at 98 clinics in Canada, the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Australia. Half of the group was randomly assigned to receive a daily dose of donepezil, the other half a placebo.
The study found cognitive function stabilized or improved in 63 per cent of people taking the drug compared to 39 per cent of those taking placebo. All of the participants, whose average age was 78, were living in the community with caregivers.”
Side effects are minimal and usually disappear after a while.