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What Is The Drug Reminyl Used To Treat?

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Reminyl is a brand name for the drug Galantamine.

Other brand names include:

  • Razadyne, Razadyne ER,
  • Lycoremine and
  • Nivalin.

Reminyl, or Galantamine,  is often used to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease in a variety of clinical settings.

 

What Is Alzheimer’s Disease And What Are Its Symptoms?

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of Dementia.  Both Dementia and Alzheimer’s are degenerative brain diseases that affect the memory and the ability to think coherently and to communicate.  Unsurprisingly, this means that the ability to complete routine, familiar, daily tasks in a normal fashion can be severely impaired by this disease, especially as it progresses.  The disease develops slowly, becoming worse as the patient ages.  There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease but the symptoms can be managed to some degree.

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The Alzheimer’s Association reports ten common symptoms that may be early indicators of Alzheimer’s.

These are:

  1. Memory loss that impacts daily life.  For example, someone suffering from Alzheimer’s may forget things they have recently been told or have trouble keeping appointments.
  2. Difficulty in making plans and in solving everyday problems.  For example, someone suffering from Alzheimer’s may have difficulty with numbers, with following a recipe or with organizing household bills.
  3. Trouble completing everyday familiar tasks.  For example, someone suffering from Alzheimer’s may have difficulty making a cup of tea, operating a stove or sending an email.
  4. Becoming confused about places and time.  For example, someone suffering from Alzheimer’s may forget important dates such as birthdays and anniversaries or even becoming confused about where they are and what time of day it is.
  5. Decreased spatial awareness.  For example, someone suffering from Alzheimer’s may find parking the car more difficult than it used to be or may become confused easily when driving.
  6. Difficulty communicating effectively.  For example, someone suffering from Alzheimer’s may forget words or struggle to recall appropriate ones during a conversation.
  7. Losing things.  For example, someone suffering from Alzheimer’s may put their glasses in an unusual place and be unable to recall where.
  8. Poor judgment.  For example, someone suffering from Alzheimer’s may buy things that are unnecessary or even useless.  In addition, they may become easy prey for cold callers and other sales people.
  9. Decreased participation in work or social events.  For example, someone suffering from Alzheimer’s may forget the rules to a game or sport they have played for decades.  This may lead to them being reluctant to involve themselves in this activity in the future.
  10. Changes in personality.  For example, someone suffering from Alzheimer’s may become upset more easily when outside their comfort zone.  Moreover they may become more fearful, suspicious or angry.

What Are The Effects Of Reminyl?

Unfortunately, Reminyl, or Galantamine, does not cure Alzheimer’s.  What it can do though, is somewhat effectively treat the symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease.  So, an Alzheimer’s patient who is taking Reminyl under the direction of his or her doctor might experience better memory, an increased ability to solve problems and be better able to handle familiar tasks and so on.  All this will translate to an increased ability to function effectively in their day to day life, at least for the present.

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Reminyl has proven effective at slowing the onset of severe Alzheimers.  It is effective when taken by patients who have mild to moderate Alzheimers.  When the Alzheimer’s becomes severe, as it invariably will, then the drug is no longer effective and may be discontinued by the patient’s doctor.

How Does Reminyl Work?

Galantamine, or Galantamine hydrobromide to give it its full name, is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor.  This means that it slows down the breakdown of acetylcholine in the body.  It is thought that Alzhiemer’s is at least partially caused by low levels of a substance in the brain called acetylcholine.  Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that is essential to the proper functioning of the brain and that is continually broken down by another substance produced by the body:  acetylcholinesterase.  Inhibiting the production of acetylcholinesterase means that the brain has access to more acetylcholine and thus operates more normally.

In addition, Galantamine also causes the acetylcholine to function more efficiently thus improving brain function.  It is these two functions that make Reminyl a popular choice with some doctors.

When Might A Doctor Prescribe Reminyl?

A doctor will only prescribe Reminyl after exhaustive tests in order to establish that the patient does indeed have Alzheimer’s.  This is because many of the symptoms of growing old, can be similar to those of Alzheimer’s disease.  These tests will almost certainly include: an examination of the patients complete medical history, mental state tests, physical and neurological exams as well as blood tests, brain scans and so on.

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Upon the conclusion of these tests, and possibly after a referral to a specialist, if mild to moderate Alzheimer’s is diagnosed, then a doctor may prescribe Reminyl.  They will only do this, however, if the patient has a caregiver available who can ensure that the patient takes their medication regularly and in the correct fashion.

When Might A Doctor NOT Prescribe Reminyl?

  • If the patient has been diagnosed with a form of Dementia other than Alzheimer’s.  Reminyl has not yet been, and may never be, proven effective for other sorts of Dementia.
  • If the patients kidney or liver function is strongly decreased. Reminyl may cause increased damage to these organs.
  • If a female patient is breast feeding.  This drug has not yet undergone clinical trials to determine whether it is safe for nursing infants.
  • If the patient has certain stomach, intestine or urinary tract problems.
  • If the patient has one or more of several less common diseases such as galactose or fructose intolerance.
  • If the patient is taking certain other medicines that it may react with such as ketoconazole, neostigmine or paroxetine.
  • If the patient is pregnant.  This drug may affect the development of the baby in the womb and so doctors avoid prescribing it to pregnant women whenever this is possible.

What Are The Side Effects Of Reminyl?

Reminyl has several side effects, most common of which is nausea and / or vomiting.  This is experienced in over ten percent of patients.  Less common side effects include: diarrhea, loss of appetite, confusion, depression, fever, fatigue, dizziness, fainting and raised blood pressure.  Even more uncommon side effects include: leg cramps, abnormal heart beats and pins and needles. Rare side effects include:  hallucinations, aggression, dehydration and seizures.  Any patient who experiences any side effects should consult their doctor.

How Does A Patient Take Reminyl?

The patient should follow the doctor’s instructions precisely for taking this medicine.  Reminyl is in pill form and is usually taken once or twice a day with meals.  The doctor may prescribe a lesser dosage at first and then increase in over time in order to lessen any side effects.

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Reminyl may also be administered in slow release capsules.  Do not break the capsule before swallowing it as this would cause too much of the drug to be released at one time.  Instead, swallow the capsule with a glass of water.

When taking Reminyl, it is also recommended to drink six to eight full glasses of water each day in order to avoid dehydration unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.

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