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Treatment of Mild-to-Moderate Dementia

Rivastigmine is a Cholinesterase inhibitor. It is used for the relief and treatment of mild-to-moderate dementia symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. It helps improve behavior disorders related to Alzheimer’s disease but it won’t cure or reverse the progression of the disease.  It’s administered orally and eliminated through the urine. This drug is patented in 1985 and came into medical use in 1997.

What condition does Rivastigmine treat?

Doctors prescribed Rivastigmine to treat the symptoms of:

  • Mild to moderately severe dementia in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease that causes brain cells to degenerate and die.
  • Mild to moderately severe dementia in people with Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is a type of brain disorder that produces symptoms like stiffness, shakiness, and difficulty with balance, walking, and coordination. It begins gradually and gets worse over time.

How does Rivastigmine work?

  • As a Cholinesterase inhibitor, this medication works by blocking the normal breakdown of acetylcholine in the body. Acetylcholine is a chemical used by the nerve cells to communicate with one another in the brain and the central nervous system or CNS.
  • Reduced acetylcholine affects memory, learning, and other cognitive functions.
  • One of the features of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease appears to have lower than normal acetylcholine in the brain due to the degeneration of the brain cells.
  • The reduced level of this chemical in the brain causes the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Blocking the action of the enzyme that destroys acetylcholine increases the concentration of the chemical acetylcholine in the brain. As a result, there is an improved cognitive process of thinking, learning, and memory. It also improved the daily functioning of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

What is the dosage of Rivastigmine?

How to take Rivastigmine?

  • Take it by mouth with meals in the morning and evening. Take it exactly as directed. Do not take more or less than what is prescribed or for longer than the required time of treatment.
  • Your doctor may start giving you a low dose and will slowly increase your dose not more than once every two weeks.
  • The initial dose is 1.5 mg twice a day.
  • After two weeks of treatment and if well tolerated, your doctor will increase your dose to 3 mg two times a day. The maximum recommended dose is 6 mg twice a day.
  • In case of adverse effects like nausea and vomiting, discontinue treatment for several doses and restart treatment on a lower dose.
  • If an interruption occurs for 3 days, restart treatment at the lower dose. If an interruption occurs for more than 3 days, start treatment at the lowest dose.

What are the precautions in taking Rivastigmine?

  • Like other drugs for treating the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, this drug may only help the brain function properly but it won’t stop the disease from getting worse.
  • Unlike other drugs of its kind, it only works in treating mild to moderately severe dementia. It’s not approved to treat all stages of dementia.
  • Do not use this in:
    • People with severe types of dementia associated with Parkinson or Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia
    • People who are pregnant or breastfeeding
    • People who have a history of allergic skin reactions
    • People who are allergic to the medicine
  • Use this with caution in:
    • People with kidney or liver disease
    • People with a history of seizures
    • People with a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD
    • People with a current peptic ulcers
    • People with a difficulty in passing urine
  • Visit your doctor regularly to check the progress of your condition and to make sure that the medicine is working properly.
  • This medicine may cause unwanted side effects like nausea, severe vomiting, weight loss, and diarrhea. It may also increase your risk of having tremors, seizures, ulcers, urinary, and breathing problems.
  • Rivastigmine can cause dizziness and drowsiness. If any of these side effects occur, do not drive or do anything that could be dangerous.
  • It is essential that you inform your doctor what medicines you are taking including those bought without prescriptions, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
  • Do not use this medicine with other medicines that increase the activity of acetylcholine.
  • Pregnant women should not use this medicine unless absolutely necessary. Breastfeeding women should not also use this unless deemed necessary.

Costs of Generic Rivastigmine vs. Exelon

Rivastigmine is a cheap generic medication that helps relieve and treat the symptoms of dementia associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It’s cheaper than the brand counterpart Exelon. Rivastigmine 1.5 mg cost $0.55 per unit price or $33 for 60 pills. While the brand name Exelon 1.5 mg costs $0.68 per unit price or $40.53 for 60 pills.