It's vital that you follow your doctor's directions for any drug. I know they are expensive, which is one reason people try to cut back. Also, side effects can be an issue. If you want to cut back because of side effects, please contact your doctor because there may be other medications that work better. It would be good to contact your doctor any way. If the expense is the problem, there are some drug programs that may help you afford what you need.
I would think that the person has to take it everyday according to the instructions. If there is side effect, let the doctor know and he/she can give you another prescription such as namenda or exelon. Taking aricept every other day does not make sense and it would not be as beneficial even if there is no side effect. It is better to take it everyday or change to another drug.
The other way to do it is use less dosage in the beginning first:
Before starting on ARICEPT 23 mg/day, patients should be on ARICEPT 10 mg/day for at least 3 months. The starting dose of ARICEPT is 5 mg/day and can be increased to 10 mg/day after 4–6 weeks. Please take ARICEPT as prescribed by the doctor."
About the side effect, once your Mom stops eating, you can stop the pill right away. It won't have lasting effect and she won't starve whatsoever. Just one meal. That is how my FIL's caregiver stopped the pill right away and then told the doctor later.
We hope you find this general health information helpful. Please note however, that this Q&A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. No information in the Answers above is intended to diagnose or treat any condition. The views expressed in the Answers above belong to the individuals who posted them and do not necessarily reflect the views of Remedy Health Media. Remedy Health Media does not review or edit content posted by our community members, but reserves the right to remove any material it deems inappropriate.