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All about: Tacrine

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Generic Name: Tacrine (TACK-reen)
Brand Name: Cognex

Tacrine is used for:

Treating mild to moderate dementia related to Alzheimer disease.

Tacrine is a cholinesterase inhibitor. It works by increasing the amount of a substance (acetylcholine) thought to be low in the brains of Alzheimer patients.

Do NOT use Tacrine if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Tacrine or to similar medications
  • you have had yellowing of the skin or eyes or abnormal liver function tests during previous use of Tacrine

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Tacrine :

Some medical conditions may interact with Tacrine . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have heart problems (eg, slow or irregular heartbeat), low blood pressure, stomach or bowel problems (eg, blockage, ulcer), breathing problems (eg, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), seizures (eg, epilepsy), or metabolic disease
  • if you have Parkinson disease, urinary blockage, liver problems or abnormal liver function tests, or a history of yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • if you have growths or increased pressure in the head, or if you have a head injury

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Tacrine . Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Theophyllines because the actions and side effects of these medicines may be increased
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (eg, ibuprofen) because risk of ulcers may be increased
  • Cholinergic agonists (eg, bethanechol), cholinesterase inhibitors (eg, donepezil), or succinylcholine because actions and side effects of both medicines may be increased
  • Fluvoxamine because actions and side effects of Tacrine may be increased
  • Anticholinergics (eg, benztropine) because effectiveness may be decreased by Tacrine

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Tacrine may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Tacrine :

Use Tacrine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take Tacrine between meals. If minor stomach upset occurs, Tacrine may be taken with meals or antacids. Notify your doctor if you start taking Tacrine with meals.
  • Tacrine works best if it is taken at the same time each day.
  • If you miss a dose of Tacrine , take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Tacrine .

Important safety information:

  • Tacrine may cause dizziness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to Tacrine . Using Tacrine alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
  • Before you have any medical or dental treatments, emergency care, or surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using Tacrine .
  • LAB TESTS, including liver function tests, may be performed to monitor your progress or to check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use Tacrine with extreme caution in CHILDREN. Safety and effectiveness have not been established.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: It is unknown if Tacrine can cause harm to the fetus. If you become pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using Tacrine during pregnancy. It is unknown if Tacrine is excreted in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Tacrine .

Possible side effects of Tacrine :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Agitation; constipation; diarrhea; dizziness; flushing; gas; indigestion; loose stools; loss of appetite; muscle pain or weakness; nausea; stuffy nose; tremor; vomiting; weight loss.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); bloody or black tarry stools; chest pain; chills; confusion; decreased urination; fainting; fever; loss of coordination; mental or mood changes; numbness or pain or arm or leg; pale stool; seizures; severe headache, nausea, one-sided weakness, vomiting, or dizziness; slow or irregular heartbeat; suicidal thoughts; unusual muscle movements; vision or speech changes; worsening of dementia; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include seizures; severe dizziness; severe nausea or vomiting; slow heart rate; sweating.

Proper storage of Tacrine :

Store Tacrine at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Tacrine out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Tacrine , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Tacrine is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Tacrine . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition 07.3.1.003
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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