Exelon is a medication that is used for treating mild to moderate dementia in people with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease. Although the drug cannot cure either condition, it can help improve cognitive function. Exelon is available by prescription only and comes in capsule and liquid form. Side effects that have been reported with the drug include dizziness, vomiting, and diarrhea.
This article refers to the oral forms of Exelon (capsules and oral solution). The medication also comes in patch form (see Exelon Patch for more information), which provides the benefits of once-daily dosing and a continuous release of the medication.
Exelon is made by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.
How Does Exelon Work?
Exelon is part of a group of medications known as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. These medications work by preventing a specific enzyme (known as acetylcholinesterase) from breaking down acetylcholine in the brain. This is a chemical that aids in many brain functions, including memory, attention, reason, and language. It is thought that problems with inadequate acetylcholine in the brain may contribute to some of the symptoms of dementia due to Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease.
Exelon is the only acetylcholinesterase inhibitor approved to treat dementia due to Parkinson's disease. The other medications in this class are approved to treat dementia associated with Alzheimer's disease only.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Exelon [package insert]. East Hanover, NJ: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation;2006 June.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed September 21, 2012.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
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