First Skin Patch Sanctioned for Alzheimer's

Reduces risk of gastrointestinal side effects

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MONDAY, July 9, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- The Exelon skin patch (rivastigmine transdermal system) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat dementia associated with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease, maker Novartis Pharmaceuticals said Monday.

Exelon, approved in 2000 in capsule form to treat Alzheimer's dementia and in 2006 to treat Parkinson's dementia, can cause gastrointestinal side effects typical of its class of drug, called cholinesterase inhibitors.

The skin patch, while maintaining a steady supply of the drug over 24 hours, showed three times fewer reports of nausea and vomiting than the capsule form, Novartis said.

As with the capsule form, the company recommended that the medicated patch be used with caution in people with a history of so-called "sick sinus syndrome," ulcers, asthma and other chronic lung diseases, seizures, or urinary obstruction.

More information

For more information about this drug, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

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