Donepezil Hydrochloride (Page 2 of 5)

6.2 Postmarketing Experience

Voluntary reports of adverse events temporally associated with donepezil hydrochloride that have been received since market introduction that are not listed above, and for which there are inadequate data to determine the causal relationship with the drug include the following: abdominal pain, agitation, cholecystitis, confusion, convulsions, hallucinations, heart block (all types), hemolytic anemia, hepatitis, hyponatremia, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, pancreatitis, and rash.


7.1 Effects of Other Drugs on the Metabolism of donepezil hydrochloride

Ketoconazole and quinidine, inhibitors of CYP450, 3A4 and 2D6, respectively, inhibit donepezil metabolism in vitro. Whether there is a clinical effect of quinidine is not known. In a 7-day crossover study in 18 healthy volunteers, ketoconazole (200 mg q.d.) increased mean donepezil (5 mg q.d.) concentrations (AUC0-24 and Cmax) by 36%. The clinical relevance of this increase in concentration is unknown.

Inducers of CYP 3A4 (e.g., phenytoin, carbamazepine, dexamethasone, rifampin, and phenobarbital) could increase the rate of elimination of donepezil hydrochloride.

7.2 Use with Anticholinergics

Because of their mechanism of action, cholinesterase inhibitors have the potential to interfere with the activity of anticholinergic medications.

7.3 Use with Cholinomimetics and Other Cholinesterase Inhibitors

A synergistic effect may be expected when cholinesterase inhibitors are given concurrently with succinylcholine, similar neuromuscular blocking agents or cholinergic agonists such as bethanechol.


8.1 Pregnancy

Teratogenic Effects:

Pregnancy Category C: There are no adequate or well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Donepezil hydrochloride should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Oral administration of donepezil to pregnant rats and rabbits during the period of organogenesis did not produce any teratogenic effects at doses up to 10 mg/kg/day (approximately 7 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis). Oral administration of donepezil (1, 3, 10 mg/kg/day) to rats during late gestation and throughout lactation to weaning produced an increase in stillbirths and reduced offspring survival through postpartum day 4 at the highest dose. The no-effect dose of 3 mg/kg/day is approximately equal to the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis.

8.2 Nursing Mothers

It is not known whether donepezil is excreted in human milk. Caution should be exercised when donepezil hydrochloride is administered to a nursing woman.

8.3 Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of donepezil hydrochloride in children have not been established.

8.4 Geriatric Use

Alzheimer’s disease is a disorder occurring primarily in individuals over 55 years of age. The mean age of patients enrolled in the clinical studies with donepezil hydrochloride was 73 years; 80% of these patients were between 65 and 84 years old, and 49% of patients were at or above the age of 75. The efficacy and safety data presented in the clinical trials section were obtained from these patients. There were no clinically significant differences in most adverse events reported by patient groups ≥ 65 years old and < 65 years old.


Because strategies for the management of overdose are continually evolving, it is advisable to contact a Poison Control Center to determine the latest recommendations for the management of an overdose of any drug.
As in any case of overdose, general supportive measures should be utilized. Overdosage with cholinesterase inhibitors can result in cholinergic crisis characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, salivation, sweating, bradycardia, hypotension, respiratory depression, collapse and convulsions. Increasing muscle weakness is a possibility and may result in death if respiratory muscles are involved. Tertiary anticholinergics such as atropine may be used as an antidote for donepezil hydrochloride overdosage. Intravenous atropine sulfate titrated to effect is recommended: an initial dose of 1.0 to 2.0 mg IV with subsequent doses based upon clinical response. A typical responses in blood pressure and heart rate have been reported with other cholinomimetics when co-administered with quaternary anticholinergics such as glycopyrrolate. It is not known whether donepezil hydrochloride and/or its metabolites can be removed by dialysis (hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, or hemofiltration).
Dose-related signs of toxicity in animals included reduced spontaneous movement, prone position, staggering gait, lacrimation, clonic convulsions, depressed respiration, salivation, miosis, tremors, fasciculation and lower body surface temperature.


Donepezil hydrochloride USP is a reversible inhibitor of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, known chemically as 2, 3-Dihydro-5, 6-dimethoxy-2-[[1-(phenylmethyl)-4-piperidinyl]methyl]-1H -inden-1-one hydrochloride. Donepezil hydrochloride USP is commonly referred to in the pharmacological literature as E2020. It has an empirical formula of C24 H29 NO3 HCl and a molecular weight of 415.96. Donepezil hydrochloride USP is a white to off white crystalline powder and is soluble in water, methanol and chloroform and sparingly soluble in acetic acid.

(click image for full-size original)

Donepezil hydrochloride USP is available for oral administration in film-coated tablets containing 5 and 10 mg of donepezil hydrochloride USP.

Inactive ingredients in 5 mg and 10 mg tablets are corn starch, hydroxypropyl cellulose, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate and microcrystalline cellulose. The film coating contains hypromellose, polyethylene glycol, talc and titanium dioxide. Additionally, the 10 mg tablet contains yellow iron oxide as a coloring agent.
Meets Organic Impurities Test Procedure 2


12.1 Mechanism of Action

Current theories on the pathogenesis of the cognitive signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease attribute some of them to a deficiency of cholinergic neurotransmission.

Donepezil hydrochloride is postulated to exert its therapeutic effect by enhancing cholinergic function. This is accomplished by increasing the concentration of acetylcholine through reversible inhibition of its hydrolysis by acetylcholinesterase. There is no evidence that donepezil alters the course of the underlying dementing process.

12.2 Pharmacodynamics

Pharmacokinetics of donepezil are linear over a dose range of 1 to 10 mg given once daily. The rate and extent of absorption of donepezil hydrochloride tablets are not influenced by food.

Based on population pharmacokinetic analysis of plasma donepezil concentrations measured in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, following oral dosing, peak plasma concentration is achieved in 3 hours for donepezil hydrochloride 10 mg tablets.

The elimination half life of donepezil is about 70 hours, and the mean apparent plasma clearance (Cl/F) is 0.13 to 0.19 L/hr/kg. Following multiple dose administration, donepezil accumulates in plasma by 4 to 7 fold, and steady state is reached within 15 days. The steady state volume of distribution is 12 to 16 L/kg. Donepezil is approximately 96% bound to human plasma proteins, mainly to albumins (about 75%) and alpha1 — acid glycoprotein (about 21%) over the concentration range of 2 to 1000 ng/mL.

Donepezil is both excreted in the urine intact and extensively metabolized to four major metabolites, two of which are known to be active, and a number of minor metabolites, not all of which have been identified. Donepezil is metabolized by CYP 450 isoenzymes 2D6 and 3A4 and undergoes glucuronidation. Following administration of 14 C-labeled donepezil, plasma radioactivity, expressed as a percent of the administered dose, was present primarily as intact donepezil (53%) and as 6-O-desmethyl donepezil (11%), which has been reported to inhibit AChE to the same extent as donepezil in vitro and was found in plasma at concentrations equal to about 20% of donepezil. Approximately 57% and 15% of the total radioactivity was recovered in urine and feces, respectively, over a period of 10 days, while 28% remained unrecovered, with about 17% of the donepezil dose recovered in the urine as unchanged drug. Examination of the effect of CYP2D6 genotype in Alzheimer’s patients showed differences in clearance values among CYP2D6 genotype subgroups. When compared to the extensive metabolizers, poor metabolizers had a 31.5% slower clearance and ultra-rapid metabolizers had a 24% faster clearance. These results suggest CYP2D6 has a minor role in the metabolism of donepezil.

Hepatic Disease: In a study of 10 patients with stable alcoholic cirrhosis, the clearance of donepezil hydrochloride was decreased by 20% relative to 10 healthy age-and sex-matched subjects.

Renal Disease: In a study of 11 patients with moderate to severe renal impairment (ClC < 18 mL/min/1.73 m2) the clearance of donepezil hydrochloride did not differ from 11 age- and sex-matched healthy subjects.

Age: No formal pharmacokinetic study was conducted to examine age-related differences in the pharmacokinetics of donepezil hydrochloride. Population pharmacokinetic analysis suggested that the clearance of donepezil in patients decreases with increasing age. When compared with 65-year old, subjects, 90-year old subjects have a 17% decrease in clearance, while 40-year old subjects have a 33% increase in clearance. The effect of age on donepezil clearance may not be clinically significant.

Gender and Race: No specific pharmacokinetic study was conducted to investigate the effects of gender and race on the disposition of donepezil hydrochloride. However, retrospective pharmacokinetic analysis and population pharmacokinetic analysis of plasma donepezil concentrations measured in patients with Alzheimer’s disease indicates that gender and race (Japanese and Caucasians) did not affect the clearance of donepezil hydrochloride to an important degree.

Body weight: There was a relationship noted between body weight and clearance. Over the range of body weight from 50 kg to 110 kg, clearance increased from 7.77 L/h to 14.04 L/h, with a value of 10 L/hr for 70 kg individuals.

Drug Interactions: Effect of donepezil hydrochloride on the Metabolism of Other Drugs

No in vivo clinical trials have investigated the effect of donepezil hydrochloride on the clearance of drugs metabolized by CYP 3A4 (e.g. cisapride, terfenadine) or by CYP 2D6 (e.g. imipramine). However, in vitro studies show a low rate of binding to these enzymes (mean Ki about 50 to130 µM), that, given the therapeutic plasma concentrations of donepezil (164 nM), indicates little likelihood of interference. Based on in vitro studies, donepezil shows little or no evidence of direct inhibition of CYP2B6, CYP2C8 and CYP2C19 at clinically relevant concentrations.

Whether donepezil hydrochloride has any potential for enzyme induction is not known. Formal pharmacokinetic studies evaluated the potential of donepezil hydrochloride for interaction with theophylline, cimetidine, warfarin, digoxin and ketoconazole. No effects of donepezil hydrochloride on the pharmacokinetics of these drugs were observed.

Effect of Other Drugs on the Metabolism of Donepezil Hydrochloride

A small effect of CYP2D6 inhibitors was identified in a population pharmacokinetic analysis of plasma donepezil concentrations measured in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Donepezil clearance was reduced by approximately 17% in patients taking 10 mg in combination with a known CYP2D6 inhibitor. This result is consistent with the conclusion that CYP2D6 is a minor metabolic pathway of donepezil.

Formal pharmacokinetic studies demonstrated that the metabolism of donepezil hydrochloride is not significantly affected by concurrent administration of digoxin or cimetidine.

An in vitro study showed that donepezil was not a substrate of P-glycoprotein.

Drugs Highly Bound to Plasma Proteins

Drug displacement studies have been performed in vitro between this highly bound drug (96%) and other drugs such as furosemide, digoxin, and warfarin. donepezil hydrochloride at concentrations of 0.3-10 micrograms/mL did not affect the binding of furosemide (5 micrograms/mL), digoxin (2 ng/mL), and warfarin (3 micrograms/mL) to human albumin. Similarly, the binding of donepezil hydrochloride to human albumin was not affected by furosemide, digoxin and warfarin.

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