Tacrine is used to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, but it does not cure the disease.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Tacrine comes as a capsule to take by mouth. It usually is taken four times a day. Take tacrine on an empty stomach (1 hour before or 2 hours after meals). Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take tacrine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Continue to take tacrine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking tacrine without talking to your doctor, especially if you have taken large doses for a long time. Your doctor probably will decrease your dose gradually. This drug must be taken regularly for a few weeks before its full effect is felt.
Before taking tacrine,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to tacrine or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially atropine-like drugs (belladonna, dicyclomine, and scopolamine); bethanechol; cimetidine (Tagamet); cold, sinus, and allergy medications; fluvoxamine (Luvox); neostigmine; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, or Nuprin), indomethacin (Indocin), and naproxen (Naprosyn); theophylline (Theo-Dur); ulcer medications; and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had ulcers; seizures; problems with your urinary system; asthma; or blood vessel, heart, kidney, liver, lung, or stomach disease. Also tell your doctor if you have experienced yellowing of the skin or eyes when you took tacrine in the past.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking tacrine, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking tacrine.
- you should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
- remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this drug.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it and take any remaining doses for that day at evenly spaced intervals. However, if you remember a missed dose when it is almost time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Tacrine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach
- loss of balance
- muscle aches
- loss of appetite
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- changes in stool color
- stomach pain
- difficulty urinating
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at Web Site] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to tacrine.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Last Reviewed: September 1, 2010.