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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Exelon

Generic Name: rivastigmine transdermal (Pronunciation: riv a STIG meen)

What is rivastigmine transdermal (Exelon)?

Rivastigmine improves the function of nerve cells in the brain. It works by preventing the breakdown of a chemical called acetylcholine (ah see til KO leen). People with dementia usually have lower levels of this chemical, which is important for the processes of memory, thinking, and reasoning.

Rivastigmine transdermal (skin patch) is used to treat mild to moderate dementia caused by Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease.

Rivastigmine transdermal may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of rivastigmine transdermal (Exelon)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • feeling like you might pass out;
  • severe or ongoing vomiting or diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss;
  • feeling very thirsty or hot, being unable to urinate, heavy sweating, or hot and dry skin;
  • black or bloody stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like blood or coffee grounds;
  • restless muscle movements in your eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck;
  • tremors (uncontrolled shaking);
  • seizure (convulsions); or
  • pain or burning when you urinate.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • headache, tired feeling;
  • dizziness, spinning feeling;
  • anxiety, depressed mood;
  • mild nausea or stomach pain;
  • muscle weakness;
  • sleep problems (insomnia); or
  • redness or irritation where the skin patch is worn.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about rivastigmine transdermal (Exelon)?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to rivastigmine or similar medications such as felbamate (Felbatol), carisoprodol (Soma, Vanadom), or meprobamate (Equanil, Miltown).

Before using rivastigmine, tell your doctor if you have liver disease, a heart rhythm disorder such as "sick sinus syndrome" (slow heartbeats), recent weight loss or lack of appetite, an enlarged prostate, urination problems, a seizure disorder, asthma or allergies, tremors or uncontrolled muscle movements, or a history of stomach ulcer.

This medication comes with patient instructions for safe and effective use. Follow these directions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

Always remove an old patch before putting on a new one. Do not wear more than 1 patch at a time.

Call your doctor at once if you have severe or ongoing vomiting or diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, heavy sweating or hot and dry skin, black or bloody stools, coughing up blood, tremors (uncontrolled shaking), or restless muscle movements in your eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck.

If you stop using rivastigmine for any reason, do not restart the medication without talking to your doctor first. You may need to restart treatment with a lower dose. Call your doctor for instructions if you forget to change your patch for more than 3 days in a row.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using rivastigmine transdermal.

This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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