The newsletter of the Memory Disorders Project at Rutgers University

What is Rivastigmine?

Rivastigmine is a drug used for treatment of symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease. It was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000 and is currently marketed by Novartis Pharmaceuticals under the brand name of Exelon.

How does Rivastigmine work?

Rivastigmine works to increase the level of acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter which is important for learning and memory; one feature of AD is a reduction in brain levels of acetylcholine.

Like the other currently-available AD drugs, tacrine (trade name Cognex), donepezil (trade name Aricept) and galantamine (trade name Reminyl), rivastigmine is a cholinesterase inhibitor, meaning that it acts to inhibit the enzymes which break down unused acetylcholine; the result is that existing acetylcholine survives longer and is more effective.

by Catherine E. Myers. Copyright © 2006 Memory Loss and the Brain