FDA Approval of Rivastigmine Tartrate – Brief Article
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved rivastigmine tartrate (Exelon) for the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Rivastigmine has been found to improve a patient’s daily functioning, behavior and cognition.
According to the manufacturer, rivastigmine is a cholinesterase inhibitor that blocks the breakdown of an important neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is believed to play an important role in memory and cognition; levels of this neurotransmitter seem to be dramatically lower in persons with Alzheimer’s disease. Cholinesterase breaks down and inactivates acetylcholine. By inhibiting cholinesterase, more acetylcholine is available for normal memory-related and cognitive functioning.
In clinical trials, patients who used rivastigmine showed significant improvement in areas such as average total word recall and recognition, orientation and ability to speak when compared with patients treated with placebo. The patients treated with rivastigmine tartrate experienced fewer delusions than patients given placebo and engaged in less purposeless activity (e.g., engaging in an activity for no particular reason, such as repeatedly opening and closing a door).
In patients who used rivastigmine, the most common side effects included nausea, vomiting, anorexia, dyspepsia and asthenia. These side effects were usually transient and mild to moderate in severity. Adverse reactions were generally less frequent later in the course of treatment. Patients with known hypersensitivity to rivastigmine, other carbamate derivatives or other components of the formulation should not use rivastigmine tartrate.
COPYRIGHT 2000 American Academy of Family Physicians
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