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On-line Tacrine

Brand Name(s): Cognex

Generic Name Tacrine

What are tacrine capsules?

TACRINE (Cognex®) helps treat the symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. It is not a cure for Alzheimer's disease but offers improvement in memory, attention, reason, language, and the ability to perform simple tasks. Benefits are greater for mild to moderate symptoms seen in the early stages of the disease. Generic tacrine capsules are not yet available.

What should my health care professional know before I take tacrine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • asthma or other lung disease
  • difficulty passing urine
  • head injury
  • heart disease, slow heartbeat
  • jaundice
  • liver disease
  • low blood pressure
  • Parkinson's disease
  • seizures (convulsions)
  • severe headaches
  • stomach or intestinal disease, ulcers or stomach bleeding
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to tacrine, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I take this medicine?

Take tacrine capsules by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow the capsules with a drink of water. It is best to take tacrine on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Continue to take your medicine even if you feel better. Do not stop taking except on your prescriber's advice.

Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose, Do not take double or extra doses.

What drug(s) may interact with tacrine?

  • atropine
  • benztropine
  • caffeine
  • cimetidine
  • dicyclomine
  • digoxin
  • donepezil
  • female hormones, like estrogens
  • fluvoxamine
  • galantamine
  • glycopyrrolate
  • guarana
  • haloperidol
  • ipratropium
  • leflunomide
  • medications for motion sickness (examples: dimenhydrinate, meclizine, scopolamine)
  • medicines that relax your muscles for surgery
  • methotrexate
  • non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen)
  • oxybutynin
  • propantheline
  • riluzole
  • rivastigmine
  • theophylline
  • trihexyphenidyl
  • warfarin
  • zileuton

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from taking tacrine?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • changes in vision or balance
  • dark yellow or brown urine
  • diarrhea, if it is severe or does not stop
  • dizziness, fainting spells, or falls
  • increase in frequency of passing urine, or incontinence
  • muscle pains
  • nervousness, agitation, or increased confusion
  • pain in the stomach or abdomen
  • skin rash or hives
  • slow heartbeat, or palpitations
  • sweating
  • uncontrollable movements
  • vomiting
  • yellowing of eyes or skin

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • diarrhea
  • dry mouth
  • indigestion
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea

What should I watch for while taking tacrine?

Visit your prescriber or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. Your prescriber will need to regularly check your blood to monitor the effect of the medication on your liver. Check with your prescriber or health care professional if there is no improvement in your symptoms or if they get worse.

Avoid alcohol while you are taking tacrine. Alcohol may increase the risk of getting liver damage. Also try to avoid smoking. Smoking tobacco may lessen tacrine's effectiveness. Ask your prescriber or health care professional for ways to help you stop smoking or drinking.

Drinking too much caffeine may make you feel nervous or may give you nausea while on this medication. Try to avoid caffeinated beverages like coffee and colas whenever you can.

You may get dizzy or feel faint. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how tacrine affects you.

If you are going to have surgery tell your prescriber or health care professional that you are taking tacrine.

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.

Store at room temperature between 15 degrees and 30 °C (59 degrees and 86 °F). Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.


(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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