FDA Approves Ortho McNeil Janssen's Razadyne

Treating mild to moderate dementia (eg, impairment of memory or judgement, abstract thinking, changes in personality) in patients with Alzheimer disease.

Razadyne is a cholinesterase inhibitor. It works by increasing the amount of a certain substance (acetylcholine) in the brain, which may help reduce symptoms of dementia in patients with Alzheimer disease.

What It Is:

A drug used to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Razadyne (galantamine HBr) is FDA-approved for mild and moderate stages of the disease.

How It Works:

In technical terms, Razadyne is a cholinesterase inhibitor that prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine plays a key role in memory and learning; higher levels in the brain help nerve cells communicate more efficiently. Razadyne also stimulates nicotinic receptors to release more acetylcholine in the brain.

Effectiveness:

Razadyne delays the worsening of Alzheimer's symptoms for 6 to 12 months in about half of the people who take it. For many, the improvement is minimal, yet worthwhile. Anecdotal evidence suggests that a small percentage of people may benefit more dramatically from this drug.

Galantamine is used to treat the symptoms of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. Galantamine will not cure Alzheimer's disease, and it will not stop the disease from getting worse. However, galantamine can improve 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.

Why is Razadyne prescribed?

Razadyne can delay or even reverse mental decline in some patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. It is thought to work by boosting levels of the chemical messenger acetylcholine in the brain. (In Alzheimer's disease, the cells that produce acetylcholine slowly deteriorate.) Razadyne is a temporary remedy. It doesn't work for everyone, and it doesn't halt the underlying disease.

Most important fact about Razadyne

Razadyne therapy starts at a low dose and increases over several months. It is important to wait 4 weeks between dosage adjustments. If treatment with Razadyne is interrupted for several days or longer, the patient will need to start over again at the lowest dose, increasing the dose at 4-week intervals until the former dose is achieved.