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Some commonly used brand names are:
In the U.S.—
Galantamine ((ga-LAN-ta-meen)) is used to treat the symptoms of mild to moderate Alzheimer"s disease. Galantamine will not cure Alzheimer"s disease, and it will not stop the disease from getting worse. However, galantamine can improve thinking ability in some patients with Alzheimer"s disease
In Alzheimer"s disease, many chemical changes take place in the brain. One of the earliest and biggest changes is that there is less of a chemical called acetylcholine (ACh). ACh helps the brain to work properly. Galantamine slows the breakdown of ACh, so it can build up and have a greater effect. However, as Alzheimer"s disease gets worse, there will be less and less ACh, so galantamine may not work as well.
This medicine is available only with your doctor"s prescription, in the following dosage forms:
Before Using This Medicine
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For galantamine the following should be considered:
Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to galantamine. Also tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.
Pregnancy—Galantamine has not been studied in pregnant women. Galantamine has been shown to cause birth defects or other problems in animal studies. Before taking this medicine, make sure your knows if you are pregnant or if you may become pregnant.
Breast-feeding—It is not known whether galantamine passes into breast milk. Mothers who are taking this medicine and who wish to breast-feed should discuss this with their doctor. Use in breast-feeding mothers is not indicated.
Children—Studies on this medicine have been done only in adult patients, and there is no specific information comparing use of galantamine in children with use in other age groups. Use in children is not recommended.
Older adults—Galantamine levels are higher in older adults than in healthy young subjects.
Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.”
Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of galantamine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Proper Use of This Medicine
Dosing—Take this medicine only as directed by your doctor. Do not take more or less of it, and do not take it more or less often than your doctor ordered. Taking too much may increase the chance of side effects, while taking too little may not improve your condition.
If you are taking the tablets or oral solution: Take this medicine with your morning and evening meals
If you are taking the extended-release capsules: Take this medicine with your morning meal
Follow the instruction sheet for the proper dosing of the oral solution and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Make sure that you are drinking plenty of fluids while you are taking this medicine.
The dose of galantamine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor"s orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of galantamine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The number of tablets that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are taking galantamine.
Missed dose— If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if you do not remember within a few hours, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses. Do not take your morning and evening doses close together.
Storage—To store this medicine:
Precautions While Using This Medicine
It is very important that your doctor check you at regular visits.
Tell your doctor if your symptoms get worse, or if you notice any new symptoms.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This especially includes nonprescription medicines, such as aspirin, and medicines for appetite control, asthma, colds, cough, hay fever, or sinus problems.
Galantamine causes a large number of patients to have problems with their stomachs and intestines. Tell your doctor about any nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain or loss of appetite.
If you think you or someone else may have taken an overdose of galantamine, get emergency help at once. Taking an overdose of galantamine may lead to convulsions (seizures) or shock. Some signs of shock are large pupils, irregular breathing, and fast weak pulse. Other signs of an overdose are severe nausea and vomiting, increasing muscle weakness, greatly increased sweating, and greatly increased watering of the mouth.
Side Effects of This Medicine
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
Chest pain or discomfort; Shortness of breath
Incidence not known
Attack, assault, force; bloody or black, tarry stools; confusion; constipation; convulsions; decreased urination; dry mouth; increase in heart rate; increased thirst; irregular heartbeat; mood changes; muscle pain or cramps; numbness or tingling in hands, feet, or lips; rapid breathing; severe stomach pain; sunken eyes; vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds; wrinkled skin
Symptoms of overdose
Cramping; defecation or urination, uncontrolled; dizziness; drooling; fainting; increased sweating; low blood pressure; muscle weakness; seizures; slow heart beat; severe nausea or vomiting; slow or troubled breathing; tearing of the eyes; watering of the mouth
Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:
Bladder pain; bloody or cloudy urine; diarrhea; difficult, burning, or painful urination; discouragement; feeling sad or empty; frequent urge to urinate; irritability; loss of appetite; loss of interest or pleasure; lower back or side pain; nausea; tiredness; trouble concentrating; vomiting; weight loss
Abdominal pain; pale skin; troubled breathing with activity; slow or irregular heartbeat (less than 50 beats per minute); light-headedness; dizziness or fainting; unusual tiredness or weakness; indigestion; headache; blood in urine; lower back pain; pain or burning while urinating; trouble sleeping; unable to sleep; sleepiness; sleeplessness; stuffy nose; unusual bleeding or bruising; unusual drowsiness; high or low blood pressure; tremor
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.
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