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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Cognex

Generic Name: tacrine (Pronunciation: TAK rin)

What is tacrine (Cognex)?

Tacrine improves the function of nerve cells in the brain. It works by preventing the breakdown of a chemical called acetylcholine (ah see til KO leen). People with dementia usually have lower levels of this chemical, which is important for the processes of memory, thinking, and reasoning.

Tacrine is used to treat mild to moderate dementia caused by Alzheimer's disease.

Tacrine may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

Cognex 10 mg

green/yellow, capsule, imprinted with COGNEX 10

Cognex 20 mg

blue/yellow, capsule, imprinted with COGNEX 20

Cognex 30 mg

capsule, orange/yellow, imprinted with COGNEX 30

Cognex 40 mg

capsule, purple/yellow, imprinted with COGNEX 40

What are the possible side effects of tacrine (Cognex)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • confusion, hallucinations;
  • extreme or sudden changes in behavior;
  • seizure (convulsions);
  • pain or burning when you urinate; or
  • nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Less serious side effects of tacrine include:

  • mild nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, upset stomach;
  • weight loss;
  • urinating more than usual;
  • agitation, depressed mood;
  • skin rash, increased sweating;
  • fever or chills, runny nose, cough;
  • dizziness, drowsiness, tired feeling;
  • joint or muscle pain; or
  • weakness, lack of coordination.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about tacrine (Cognex)?

Before taking tacrine, tell your doctor if you have heart disease or a heart rhythm disorder such as "sick sinus syndrome" (slow heartbeats), an enlarged prostate, urination problems, asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease, or a seizure disorder such as epilepsy.

Tacrine is most effective when taken between meals on an empty stomach, but you may take it with food if it upsets your stomach.

It is important to use tacrine regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from this medication.

Do not change your tacrine dose without your doctor's advice. Taking this medication improperly can lead to serious behavioral side effects or a worsening of Alzheimer's symptoms.

Call your doctor at once if you have serious side effects such as confusion, hallucinations, extreme or sudden changes in behavior, seizure (convulsions), pain or burning when you urinate, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Do not stop taking this medication without first talking to your doctor. If you stop taking tacrine suddenly, your condition may become worse.

Tacrine can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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