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What is galantamine?

release oral capsule. It’s also available as a generic or the brand-name drugs Razadyne and Razadyne ER. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name versions.

Galantamine may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you need to take it with other drugs to treat dementia associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Why it's used

Galantamine is used to treat mild to moderate dementia (problems with mental function or doing daily tasks) associated with Alzheimer’s disease

How it works

Galantamine belongs to a class of drugs called cholinesterase inhibitors. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They have a similar chemical structure and are often used to treat similar conditions.

The cause of Alzheimer’s disease isn’t fully understood. People with this disease have low amounts of a chemical acetylcholine in their brains. A decreased amount of acetylcholine has been linked to dementia. Galantamine works to prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine. This increases the concentration of the chemical in the brain, and may help decrease the symptoms of dementia.

This drug may not work as well when Alzheimer’s disease gets worse. There is no evidence that galantamine prevents Alzheimer’s disease from getting worse.

Galantamine Side Effects

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

Galantamine can cause serious skin reactions. Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have the first signs of any skin rash, no matter how mild.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • chest pain, slow heart rate;
  • little or no urinating;
  • blood in your urine;
  • signs of stomach bleeding--bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;
  • liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • dehydration symptoms--feeling very thirsty or hot, being unable to urinate, heavy sweating, or hot and dry skin;
  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out; or
  • severe skin reaction--fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Let your doctor know if you have heart problems, especially issues with irregular, slow, or fast heart rate. You have a higher risk for experiencing a slow heart rate and fainting while taking galantamine. Talk to your doctor if you have a history of stomach problems, ulcers, or bleeding. Also mention if you are currently taking any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Galantamine may increase the amount of acid in your stomach. This may put you at risk of having more stomach ulcers or bleeding. Galantamine may block your bladder, making it difficult to urinate. Talk to your doctor if you’ve had any bladder problems in the past. Galantamine may cause seizures. Tell your doctor if you’ve ever had seizures. People with Alzheimer’s disease may also be more likely to have seizures.

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