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Exelon (Generic Rivastigmine)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Exelon, whose active ingredient is rivastigmine, is primarily prescribed for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease dementia. It belongs to a class of medications called cholinesterase inhibitors. These medications work by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as acetylcholine, which are involved in memory, thinking, and reasoning.

Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease dementia are neurodegenerative disorders characterized by a decline in cognitive function, including memory loss, confusion, and difficulty with reasoning and problem-solving. Exelon helps to alleviate some of these symptoms and may slow down the progression of cognitive decline in some patients.

How should this medicine be used?

Exelon, or rivastigmine, is typically administered orally in the form of capsules, oral solution, or transdermal patches. Here are general guidelines for using Exelon:

  • Follow the dosage instructions provided by your doctor or pharmacist carefully. Do not take more or less of the medication than prescribed.
  • Exelon is usually taken with food to help minimize gastrointestinal side effects. Your healthcare provider will advise you on the best timing for taking the medication, which may be in the morning and evening.
  • If you are taking the oral solution, measure the dose using the provided oral syringe or measuring device. Do not use a household spoon as it may not provide the correct dosage.
  • Swallow the capsules whole with a glass of water. Do not crush, chew, or break the capsules.
  • If you are using the transdermal patch, apply it to clean, dry, and hairless skin on your upper or lower back, upper arm, or chest. Rotate the application site to avoid skin irritation. Follow the instructions provided with the patch for proper application and removal.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after applying or handling the patch to prevent accidental exposure to the medication.
  • It’s important to take Exelon regularly to get the most benefit from it. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not double up on doses to make up for a missed one.
  • If you have trouble remembering to take your medication, consider setting a reminder or using a pill organizer to help you stay on track.
  • Keep all appointments with your doctor for monitoring and dosage adjustments if necessary.
  • Inform your doctor about any other medications, supplements, or herbal remedies you are taking, as they may interact with Exelon.

Always consult your healthcare provider for specific dosage and usage instructions tailored to your individual needs and medical condition.

Other uses for this medicine

Exelon, or rivastigmine, is primarily prescribed for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease dementia. However, it may also be used off-label for other conditions, including mild cognitive impairment or dementia associated with other neurological conditions. Off-label use means the medication is being prescribed for a condition that it has not been officially approved for by regulatory authorities.

What special precautions should I follow?

Special precautions should be observed when taking Exelon. Here are some important considerations:

  • Allergies: Inform your doctor if you have any allergies to rivastigmine or any other medications.
  • Medical History: Provide your doctor with your complete medical history, especially if you have a history of certain conditions such as heart problems, stomach or intestinal ulcers, seizures, asthma, urinary tract problems, or liver or kidney disease.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, discuss the risks and benefits of taking Exelon with your doctor. The safety of Exelon during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been established.
  • Driving and Operating Machinery: Exelon may cause dizziness, drowsiness, or blurred vision, which can impair your ability to drive or operate machinery. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.
  • Interactions: Exelon may interact with other medications, including certain antidepressants, antihistamines, antipsychotics, and medications for Parkinson’s disease. Inform your doctor about all the medications, supplements, and herbal products you are taking to avoid potential interactions.
  • Alcohol: Limit alcohol consumption while taking Exelon, as it may increase the risk of side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness.
  • Heat Exposure: Heat may increase the release of the medication from the transdermal patch. Avoid prolonged exposure to heat sources such as hot tubs, saunas, or direct sunlight while wearing the patch.
  • Monitoring: Your doctor may regularly monitor your liver and kidney function, as well as your heart rate and blood pressure, while you are taking Exelon.
  • Side Effects: Be aware of potential side effects of Exelon, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, headache, dizziness, and difficulty sleeping. Contact your doctor if you experience any concerning side effects.

Always follow your doctor’s instructions and report any concerns or unusual symptoms while taking Exelon. They can provide guidance on how to manage side effects or adjust your treatment regimen if necessary.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

There are no specific dietary restrictions associated with Exelon. However, taking Exelon with food may help minimize gastrointestinal side effects. If you have any concerns about your diet while taking Exelon, consult your doctor or pharmacist for personalized advice.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you miss a dose of Exelon, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is almost time for your next dose. In that case, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you have questions or concerns about missed doses, consult your doctor or pharmacist for guidance.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Exelon (rivastigmine) can cause various side effects, ranging from mild to severe. It’s important to note that not everyone will experience these side effects, and some individuals may experience side effects that are not listed here. Common side effects of Exelon include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia (difficulty sleeping)
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tremor
  • Increased sweating
  • Skin irritation (with the transdermal patch)

These side effects are often temporary and may improve as your body adjusts to the medication. However, if any of these side effects persist or worsen, contact your doctor for further guidance.

In some cases, Exelon can cause more serious side effects that require immediate medical attention. These include:

  • Severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea that leads to dehydration
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as rash, itching, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat, or difficulty breathing
  • Slow heart rate or fainting
  • Seizures
  • Worsening symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as difficulty moving or involuntary muscle movements

If you experience any of these serious side effects, seek medical help right away.

It’s essential to discuss any concerns or side effects with your doctor, as they can provide guidance on managing side effects or adjusting your treatment regimen if necessary. Additionally, do not stop taking Exelon without consulting your doctor, as suddenly discontinuing the medication can lead to withdrawal symptoms or worsening of symptoms.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Storage and disposal instructions for Exelon typically include:


  • Store Exelon capsules, oral solution, and transdermal patches at room temperature away from light and moisture.
  • Keep Exelon out of reach of children and pets.
  • Do not store Exelon in the bathroom or near the kitchen sink, as moisture and heat can degrade the medication.


  • Dispose of any unused or expired Exelon medication properly, according to local regulations or guidelines.
  • Do not flush Exelon down the toilet or pour it down the drain unless instructed to do so by your pharmacist or local waste disposal authority.
  • Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider about the best way to dispose of Exelon safely.

In case of emergency/overdose

  • In case of an overdose of Exelon, contact your local poison control center (1-800-222-1222 in the United States) or seek emergency medical attention immediately.
  • Symptoms of Exelon overdose may include severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive sweating, slowed heart rate, fainting, seizures, and difficulty breathing.
  • If possible, provide the emergency responders or healthcare providers with information about the amount of Exelon taken and when it was taken.

What other information should I know?

  • Keep all appointments with your doctor for monitoring and dosage adjustments as needed.
  • Inform your doctor about any changes in your medical condition or new symptoms while taking Exelon.
  • Do not share Exelon with others, even if they have similar symptoms, as it may not be safe or effective for them.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully, including dosage, timing, and any special precautions or dietary instructions.
  • If you have any questions or concerns about Exelon or its use, consult your doctor or pharmacist for clarification.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure safe storage, disposal, and handling of Exelon, as well as know what to do in case of emergencies or overdose.

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