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First Alzheimer's patch gets approval


The first skin patch to treat the dementia that can plague Alzheimer's patients gained federal approval, a drug company said Monday.
The drug in the patch, called Exelon or rivastigmine, is the same as that now available in capsule form but provides a regular and continuous dose throughout the day, according to Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. Since the drug enters the bloodstream directly, the patch also eliminates some of the gastrointestinal side effects associated with the drug when swallowed.

The drug is meant to treat the symptoms of mild to moderate dementia in patients with Alzheimer's disease. It also won Food and Drug Administration approval to treat patients with mild to moderate Parkinson's disease dementia, Novartis said.

Rivastigmine isn't a cure. It inhibits the breakdown of a chemical in the brain called acetylcholine, thought important for both learning and memory.

| Tags: Public Health and Safety, Skin and Beauty |

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