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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Exelon

Generic Name: rivastigmine (Pronunciation: ri va STIG meen)

What is rivastigmine (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 is used to treat mild to moderate dementia caused by Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease.

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

Excelon 1.5 mg

yellow, capsule, imprinted with EXELON 1.5mg

Excelon 3 mg

capsule, orange, imprinted with EXELON 3 mg

Exelon 4.5 mg

capsule, red, imprinted with EXELON 4.5 mg

Exelon 6 mg

capsule, red, imprinted with EXELON 6 mg

What are the possible side effects of rivastigmine (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.

Stop using rivastigmine and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • stomach pain, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite;
  • black, bloody, or tarry stools;
  • coughing up blood or vomit that looks like blood or coffee grounds;
  • feeling light-headed, fainting;
  • chest pain;
  • confusion, agitation, extreme fear; or
  • pain or burning when you urinate.

Less serious side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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

Before taking rivastigmine, tell your doctor if you have a heart rhythm disorder such as "sick sinus syndrome" (slow heartbeats), an enlarged prostate, urination problems, asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease, or a seizure disorder such as epilepsy.

Stop using rivastigmine and call your doctor at once if the medicine causes you to have stomach pain, nausea and vomiting, and loss of appetite.

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.

It is important to use rivastigmine regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

If you stop taking 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.

If you need to have any type of surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are taking rivastigmine.

Rivastigmine can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and 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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