NCLEX Pharm Focus
Does Pharmacology cause you much anxiety? According to the National Council State Board of Nursing (NCSBN), Pharmacological and Parental Therapy represent 12-18% of the RN NCLEX exam while 11-17% represent a portion of the PN NCLEX exam. With this in mind, familiarizing yourself with the commonly asked medications is an important part of your NCLEX preparation.

Donepezil hydrochloride

Brand Name(s):

  • Aricept

Pharmacologic Class:

  • Cholinesterase inhibitor
  • Mild to moderate Alzheimer's dementia
  • Moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease


  • Thought to increase acetylcholine level by inhibiting cholinesterase enzyme, which causes acetylcholine hydrolysis.
Adverse Reactions:
  • CNS: headache, insomnia, seizures
  • CV: bradycardia, heart block
  • EENT: cataract, blurred vision, eye irritation, sore throat
  • GI: nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, GI bleeding
Nursing Considerations:
  • Allow ODT to dissolve on tongue; then follow with water.
  • Give drug at bedtime, without regard for food.
  • Monitor patient for evidence of active or occult GI bleeding.
  • Monitor patient for bradycardia because of potential for vagotonic effects.
  • Don’t confuse Aricept with Ascriptin.
Patient Teaching:
  • Stress that drug doesn’t alter underlying degenerative disease but can temporarily stabilize or relieve symptoms. Effectiveness depends on taking drug at regular intervals.
  • Advise patient and caregiver to report immediately significant adverse effects or changes in overall health status and to inform health care team that patient is taking drug before he receives anesthesia.
  • Tell patient to avoid OTC cold or sleep remedies because of risk of increased anticholinergic effects.
Phone: 1-650-303-5488
Office: 90 So. Spruce Ave. Suite P
South San Francisco, CA 94080

D&D Nursing Educators, Inc., 90 So. Spruce Ave. Suite P South San Francisco, CA 94080

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