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Neuroscience For Kids

New Drug for Alzheimer's Disease
cc1 August 3, 2007
By Ellen Y. Kuwana, Neuroscience for Kids Staff Writer

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurological disorder where people get more and more forgetful and confused. In mild to moderate cases, people with Alzheimer's disease may have problems functioning on a daily basis because of impaired memory. A class of drugs called cholinesterase inhibitors have been used to improve memory function in mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease patients.

cc1 Cholinesterase inhibitors prevent the breakdown of the neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Rivastigmine, one type of cholinesterase inhibitor that has been used in capsule form, is now available in a skin patch. Delivery of this drug through the skin seems to reduce gastrointestinal (stomach) side effects and is preferred by caregivers because it is easy to use.

The new patch, called the Exelon Patch, is also approved to treat Parkinson's disease dementia, a form of memory impairment that accompanies Parkinson's disease.

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