Health Guide
Drug Guide

Galantamine (Oral route)

Pronunciation:

ga-LAN-ta-meen

Brand Names:

Dosage Forms:

Classifications:

Therapeutic

Central Nervous System Agent

Pharmacologic

Cholinesterase Inhibitor, Centrally/Peripherally Acting

Uses of This Medicine:

Galantamine is used to treat mild to moderate dementia (memory loss and mental changes) that is a sign of Alzheimer's disease. Galantamine will not cure Alzheimer's disease, and it will not stop the disease from getting worse. However, galantamine can improve the 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.

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 this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Children

Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of galantamine in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Older adults

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of galantamine in the elderly.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy CategoryExplanation
All TrimestersCAnimal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.

Breast-feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

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. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

Other interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other medical problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

Proper Use of This Medicine:

Take this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. To do so may increase the chance of side effects.

If you are taking the extended-release capsules:

If you are taking the oral liquid:

Take the oral liquid or tablets with morning or evening meals.

Drink extra fluids so you will pass more urine while you are using this medicine. This may help prevent kidney problems.

Dosing

The dose of this medicine 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 this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine 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 using the medicine.

Missed dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

If you missed your dose for more than 3 days, call your doctor right away. You may need to go back to a lower dose.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Precautions While Using This Medicine:

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.

Serious skin reactions can occur with this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have blistering, peeling, or loose skin, red skin lesions, severe acne or skin rash, sores or ulcers on the skin, or fever or chills while you are using this medicine.

Galantamine may cause stomach or bowel problems. Check with your doctor right away if you have nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, or weight loss.

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.

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.

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 immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Less common
Chest pain or discomfort
lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
shortness of breath
slow or irregular heartbeat
unusual tiredness
Rare
Blurred vision
confusion
decreased urination
dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
dry mouth
fainting
fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse
feeling of warmth
rapid breathing
redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
sunken eyes
sweating
thirst
troubled breathing
unusual tiredness or weakness
wrinkled skin
Incidence not known
Blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
chills
cough
dark urine
fever
general tiredness and weakness
headache
hoarseness
irritation
joint pain, stiffness, or swelling
light-colored stools
nausea and vomiting
nervousness
pounding in the ears
rash, hives, or itching skin
red skin lesions, often with a purple center
red, irritated eyes
redness of the skin
swelling of the eyelids, face, lips, hands, or feet
tightness in the chest
troubled swallowing
upper right abdominal or stomach pain
yellow eyes and skin

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:

Symptoms of overdose
Confusion
convulsions
irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing
muscle weakness
pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
severe nausea
stomach cramps
sweating
tearing of the eyes
twitches of the muscle visible under the skin
vomiting

Some 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. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
Decreased appetite
weight loss
Less common
Acid or sour stomach
belching
discouragement
feeling sad or empty
general feeling of discomfort or illness
heartburn
increased sweating
indigestion
irritability
lack of appetite
lack or loss of strength
loss of interest or pleasure
muscle spasms
stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
trouble concentrating
trouble sleeping
unusual drowsiness, dullness, tiredness, weakness, or feeling of sluggishness
Rare
Burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
change in taste
dry heaves
loss of taste
unusually deep sleep
unusually long duration of sleep
Incidence not known
Continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
hearing loss
seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Last Updated: 10/12/2016

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