GENERIC NAME: galantamine
BRAND NAME: Razadyne, Razadyne ER
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Galantamine is an oral medication used to treat patients with Alzheimer's disease. Galantamine is in a class of drugs called cholinesterase inhibitors that also includes tacrine (Cognex), donezepil (Aricept), and rivastigmine (Exelon). Cholinesterase inhibitors inhibit (block) the action of acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme responsible for the destruction of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is one of several neurotransmitters in the brain, chemicals that nerve cells use to communicate with one another. Reduced levels of acetylcholine in the brain are believed to be responsible for some of the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. By blocking the enzyme that destroys acetylcholine, galantamine increases the concentration of acetylcholine in the brain, and this increase is believed to be responsible for the improvement in thinking. Galantamine was approved by the FDA in 2001. (The brand name of galantamine was changed in 2005 from Reminyl to Razadyne.)
PRESCRIBED FOR: Galantamine is used for the treatment of mild to moderate dementia due to Alzheimer's disease.
SIDE EFFECTS: The most frequent side effects seen with galantamine are:
These side effects generally occur during the beginning of treatment or when the dose is increased. These side effects typically are mild and temporary. Taking galantamine with food and ensuring adequate fluid intake may reduce the impact of these side effects.
Quick GuideDementia, Alzheimer's Disease, and Aging Brains
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