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Rivastigmine

Why is this medication prescribed?

Rivastigmine is used for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Rivastigmine is in a class of medications called cholinesterase inhibitors. It improves mental function by increasing the amount of a certain natural substance in the brain.

How should this medicine be used?

Rivastigmine comes as a capsule to take by mouth. It is usually taken twice a day with meals. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take rivastigmine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Your doctor will start you on a low dose of rivastigmine and gradually increase your dose, not more than once every 2 weeks. If you have severe stomach side effects such as upset stomach and vomiting, you may need to stop taking rivastigmine for a few doses and then start taking it again at the same dose or a lower dose. If you stop taking rivastigmine for more than a few days, talk to your doctor before starting to take it again. You will probably have to restart taking it at the lowest dose.

Other uses for this medicine

Rivastigmine also is used sometimes to treat Lewy body dementia. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this drug for your condition.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking rivastigmine,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to rivastigmine, neostigmine (Prostigmin), physostigmine (Antilirium, Isopto Eserine), pyridostigmine (Mestinon, Regonol), or any other medications.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention any of the following: aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn); bethanechol (Duvoid, Urabeth, Urecholine); ipratropium (Atrovent); and medications for Alzheimer's disease, glaucoma, irritable bowel disease, motion sickness, myasthenia gravis, Parkinson's disease, ulcers, or urinary problems. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had ulcers, heart disease, an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hypertrophy), asthma, or other lung disease.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking rivastigmine, call your doctor.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking rivastigmine.
  • you should know that rivastigmine may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
  • remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this medication.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

If you miss taking rivastigmine for more than a few days, talk to your doctor before starting to take it again. You will probably have to restart taking it at the lowest dose.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Rivastigmine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • upset stomach
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • stomach pain
  • weight loss
  • diarrhea
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • extreme tiredness
  • lack of energy
  • tremor
  • constipation
  • increased sweating
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • confusion
  • runny nose

Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them, call your doctor immediately:

  • fainting
  • black and tarry stools
  • red blood in stools
  • bloody vomit
  • vomiting material that looks like coffee grounds
  • difficulty urinating
  • seizures
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • hearing voices or seeing things that do not exist (hallucinating)

Rivastigmine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

What other information should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor.

Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT
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