Exelon is a prescription drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000 to treat mild to moderate dementia in people with Parkinson’s Disease. Exelon may also be prescribed to treat Dementia with Lewy Bodies. The drug name of Exelon is rivastigmine.
Exelon is not appropriate for people with a history of hypersensitivity to rivastigmine, including skin reactions to Exelon transdermal patches. Exelon must be used with caution in people with low body weight, urinary obstructions, a history of seizures, or problems with the liver, kidneys, lung, heart, or stomach.
Exelon is a member of a class of drugs known as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. Exelon is believed to work by increasing the amount of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine in the brain.
Some medications are available both as generic and branded products. Although generic and branded formulations of a drug contain the same active ingredients at the same concentrations, your body may react differently to different formulations. Check with your doctor before switching between drug brands or between generic and branded drugs.
How do I take it?
Exelon may be taken orally as a tablet or liquid, or used as a transdermal patch. Orally, Exelon is taken twice a day, usually with breakfast or dinner.
Exelon transdermal patches are applied to the skin once daily. Place the patch only on clean, healthy skin, never on skin that is irritated, broken, inflamed, or oily. Do not apply lotion, powder, or other products to the area where you will apply the patch. Wash your hands after applying an Exelon patch.
You can wear the Exelon patch while bathing. Avoid situations that will increase heat around the Exelon patch. For instance, do not use a heating pad, electric blanket, or heated water bed; do not enter a sauna or hot tub; and do not allow direct sunlight to fall on the patch.
Avoid driving or operating machinery until you are certain you understand how Exelon affects you.
You may experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking Exelon suddenly. If you decide to stop taking Exelon, ask your doctor for a plan to decrease your dosage gradually.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Exelon.
A 2007 article reviewed existing clinical studies on rivastigmine (Exelon). The researchers concluded that rivastigmine furnishes modest improvements for those with dementia related to Parkinson’s Disease, but that many people have difficulty tolerating the side effects of the drug.
Common side effects of Exelon include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, nervousness, headaches, confusion, problems sleeping, loss of appetite, or weight loss. Tell your doctor if these side effects become worse.
Exelon may worsen tremors and other symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Excessive vomiting and diarrhea while taking Exelon can lead to serious dehydration or rupture of the esophagus.
Inform your doctor immediately if you experience a rash, trouble breathing, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, depression, stools containing blood or a tarry substance, vomit containing blood or a substance resembling coffee grounds, or abnormal body movements while taking Exelon.
Many drugs can cause allergic reactions that in the most serious cases, can result in death. Seek immediate medical help if you experience signs of a severe allergic reaction such as hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling in the face, throat, eyes, lips or tongue.