- What is galantamine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for galantamine?
- Is galantamine available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for galantamine?
- What are the side effects of galantamine?
- What is the dosage for galantamine?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with galantamine?
- Is galantamine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about galantamine?
What is galantamine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
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.)
What are the side effects of galantamine?
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.
Other important side effects include:
Quick GuideDementia, Alzheimer's Disease, and Aging Brains
What is the dosage for galantamine?
Galantamine tablets are taken twice daily, preferably with the morning and evening meals. Most often, galantamine therapy is started with the lowest dose, 4 mg twice daily for several weeks, and then continued at 8 to 12 mg twice daily. The recommended dose when using extended release capsules is 8 to 24 mg once daily in the morning.
Which drugs or supplements interact with galantamine?
Drugs with anticholinergic properties and which cross into the brain, such as atropine, benztropine (Cogentin), and trihexyphenidyl (Artane) produce opposite effects to (counteract) galantamine and should be avoided during therapy with galantamine. Drugs such as ketoconazole (Nizoral, Extina, Xolegel, Kuric)and paroxetine (Paxil) that reduce the activity of liver enzymes that break down galantamine may increase blood levels of and, therefore, the side effects of galantamine. Galantamine may add to the neuromuscular blocking effect of succinylcholine and similar drugs that are used during surgical anesthesia. Unlike donepezil (Aricept), galantamine does not increase blood levels of other medications and increase their risk for side effects.
Is galantamine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Studies in pregnant rats and rabbits using galantamine at high doses failed to show effects on the offspring; however, no studies have been performed in pregnant women. Therefore, physicians must weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks of galantamine before prescribing it for pregnant women.
It is not known if galantamine is secreted in breast milk.
What else should I know about galantamine?
What preparations of galantamine are available?
Tablets: 4, 8, and 12 mg. Extended release capsules: 8, 16, and 24 mg. Oral solution: 4 mg/mL.
How should I keep galantamine stored?
Tablets and liquid solution should be stored at room temperature, 15-30 C (59-86 F).
Generic name galantamine, brand name Razadyne, Razadyne ER (formerly named Reminyl): Razadyne is a drug prescribed for patients with Alzheimer's disease, a form of dementia. Drug information includes side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Information also includes dosage, drug interactions, and indications.
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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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Cholinesterase inhibitors (acetylchlinesterase inhibitors) are medications that block the breakdown acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter), and that block the action of acetylchlinesterase in the body. Researchers believe that decreased levels of acetylcholine in the brain causes Alzheimer's disease and dementia symptoms.
Cholinesterase inhibitors are prescribed for the treatment and management of dementia caused by Alzheimer's disease. They also are used for the treatment and management of Parkinson's disease, glaucoma, myasthenia gravis, schizophrenia, and Lewy body dementia.
Common side effects of cholinesterase inhibitors are insomnia, abnormal dreams, weight loss, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, and fatigue. More serious side effect include hallucinations, confusion, fainting, high blood pressure, and frequent urination.
Cholinesterase inhibitors interacts with some drugs. These drugs should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Dementia is defined as a significant loss of intellectual abilities such as memory capacity, severe enough to interfere with social or occupational functioning. There are several different types of dementia, including cortical, subcortical, progressive, primary, and secondary dementias. Other conditions and medication reactions can also cause dementia. Dementia is diagnosed based on a certain set of criteria. Treatment for dementia is generally focused on the symptoms of the disease.
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Exelon and Exelon Patch (Rivastigmine) is a drug prescribed for the treatment of mild to moderate dementia of the Alzheimer's type and mild to moderate dementia associated with Parkinson's disease. Side effects include
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