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Galantamine

Brand Name: Reminyl
Drug Class: Reversible cholinesterase inhibitor
Available in: Tablets
Available OTC? No
As Generic? No

Side Effects

Serious: No serious side effects are associated with the use of galantamine.

Common: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and weight loss.

Less Common: Fatigue, lightheadedness, dizziness, tremor, headache, abdominal pain, heartburn, depression, insomnia, drowsiness, runny nose, urinary tract infection, blood in the urine.

Principal Uses

To treat mild to moderate Alzheimer disease.

How the Drug Works

The exact mechanism of action is unknown. However, galantamine is believed to work by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase enzymes, which reduces the breakdown of acetylcholine, a brain chemical crucial to memory. Acetylcholine deficiency is thought to result in memory loss associated with Alzheimer disease.

Dosage

To start, 4 mg twice a day. After a minimum of four weeks of treatment, your doctor may increase the dose to 8 mg twice a day. The dose may be further increased after no less than a 4-week interval to 12 mg twice a day, if tolerated. People with moderate liver or kidney impairment should not take more than 16 mg a day.

Onset of Effect

Unknown.

Duration of Action

Unknown.

Dietary Advice

Rivastigmine should be taken with food in the morning and evening.

Storage

Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

If You Miss a Dose

Take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosage schedule. Do not double the next dose. If therapy has been interrupted for several days or longer, consult your doctor.

Stopping the Drug

The decision to stop taking the drug should be made in consultation with your physician.

Prolonged Use

No problems are expected with long-term use.

Precautions

Over 60: No special problems are expected.

Driving and Hazardous Work: Do not drive or engage in hazardous work until you determine how the medicine affects you.

Alcohol: Avoid alcohol while using this medication.

Pregnancy: Adequate studies on the use of galantamine during pregnancy have not been done. Discuss with your doctor the relative risks and benefits of using this drug while pregnant.

Breast Feeding: It is not known whether galantamine passes into breast milk; caution is advised. Consult your doctor for specific advice.

Infants and Children: Galantamine is not intended for use in children.

Special Concerns: Galantamine will not cure Alzheimer disease and will not stop the disease from getting worse, but it will improve cognitive ability of some patients.

Overdose

Symptoms: Severe nausea, vomiting, increased salivation, sweating, slow heartbeat, low blood pressure, irregular breathing, unconsciousness, increased muscle weakness, death.

What to Do: Call your doctor, emergency medical services (EMS), or the nearest poison control center immediately.

Drug Interactions

The following drugs may interact with galantamine. Consult your doctor for specific advice if you are taking anticholinergic drugs or paroxetine.

Food Interactions

No known food interactions.

Disease Interactions

Do not take galantamine if you have severe liver or kidney impairment. Caution is advised when taking this drug. Consult your doctor if you have any of the following: asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease, epilepsy or a history of seizures, heart problems, intestinal blockage, stomach or duodenal ulcer, liver disease, or urinary problems.


From The Johns Hopkins Consumer Guide to Drugs. You can order this book now on our secure server.


 

MEMORY BULLETIN
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2005
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Memory

The Memory White Paper from The Johns Hopkins White Papers series is an annual, in-depth report written by Hopkins physicians.


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Johns Hopkins Consumer Guide to Drugs

Find out everything you need to know about medications for arthritis and other conditions in The Johns Hopkins Consumer Guide to Drugs.

 

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