The Exelon Patch is licensed for treating dementia due to Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. It can help improve cognitive function, but is not a cure for either condition. Exelon Patches, which are available by prescription, are generally applied to the skin once daily. Potential side effects can include nausea, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
What Is the Exelon Patch?
The Exelon® Patch (rivastigmine patch) is a prescription medication approved to treat mild to moderate dementia due to Parkinson's disease, as well as dementia due to mild, moderate, or severe Alzheimer's disease. Although the Exelon Patch is not a cure for these diseases, it can help with some of the symptoms. The patch provides the benefits of once-daily dosing and continuous release of the medication.
The Exelon Patch is made by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.
How Does the Exelon Patch Work?
The Exelon Patch is part of a group of medications known as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. These medications work by preventing a specific enzyme (known as acetylcholinesterase) from breaking down acetylcholine in the brain.
Acetylcholine is a chemical that aids in many brain functions, including memory, attention, reason, and language. Problems with inadequate acetylcholine in the brain may contribute to some of the symptoms of dementia associated with Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease.
Exelon products (including the patches, as well as capsules and liquid) are the only acetylcholinesterase inhibitors approved to treat dementia due to Parkinson's disease. The other medications in this class are approved to treat Alzheimer's dementia only.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: Approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed February 20, 2008.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
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