Exelon Patch vs Aricept - Comparison of Differences & Uses

Exelon Patch

It is the brand name of a drug called rivastigmine, that belongs to a class of drugs called cholinesterase inhibitors. It works by preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical in the brain that is vital for attention, memory, language, and reason.

Uses

It is used for the treatment of mild to moderate dementia linked with Parkinson’s disease or mild to moderate dementia of the Alzheimer’s type.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other essential mental functions. It is the most common type of dementia, accounting for an estimated 60 to 80% of all cases of dementia in the US.

Note – it does not cure either of these diseases, however, it may improve awareness, memory, and the capacity to perform regular functions.

Dosage

For treating dementia associated with Alzheimer’s disease, the usual recommended starting dose is 1.5 mg two times per day. It can be gradually increased no more than once every 14 days, if needed and if the medication is well tolerated.

Note – do not put the patch on the skin where you have just used oils, creams, powder, lotions, or other skin products because it may not stick as well.

Furthermore, it is not known if the medication is effective or safe in children under 18 years of age.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • loss of appetite;
  • diarrhea;
  • weakness;
  • vomiting;
  • nausea;
  • upset stomach.

Rare side effects may include:

  • passing out;
  • unusual hoarseness;
  • very bad dizziness;
  • rash;
  • burning or pain when passing urine;
  • swelling of the lips, mouth, face, tongue, or throat;
  • trouble swallowing, breathing, or speaking;
  • stiffness;
  • tightness in the chest or throat;
  • trouble moving around;
  • feeling the need to pass urine often or right away;
  • pelvic pain;
  • shakiness;
  • lower stomach pain;
  • peeling skin with or without fever;
  • low mood (depression);
  • feeling confused;
  • change in balance;
  • black, tarry, or bloody stools;
  • slow heartbeat;
  • skin irritation;
  • seizures;
  • blisters which ooze, drain, or crust over;
  • trouble passing urine;
  • very bad belly pain;
  • feeling very tired or weak;
  • vomit that looks like coffee grounds.

To make sure that this medication is safe for you, tell your healthcare provider if you have:

  • lack of appetite;
  • kidney disease;
  • recent weight loss;
  • liver disease;
  • urination problems;
  • a heart rhythm disorder, like – “sick sinus syndrome;”
  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
  • an enlarged prostate;
  • a history of stomach ulcer;
  • uncontrolled muscle movements;
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD);
  • tremors (dyskinesia);
  • asthma.

Aricept

It is the brand name of a drug called donepezil, that belongs to a group of drugs called cholinesterase inhibitors. It works by stopping a specific enzyme from breaking down acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter used at the neuromuscular junction) in the brain.

The medication was originally approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1996 to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer’s.

Uses

It is typically used to treat dementia (a loss of remembering, thinking, and reasoning skills which interferes with a person’s daily activities and life) in people who have Alzheimer’s disease.

Dosage

For moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease, the usual recommended dose is 10 mg and 23 mg taken by mouth once per day.

Note – the medication is not a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, however, it may help slow down the progression of symptoms.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • loss of appetite;
  • diarrhea;
  • muscle pain;
  • vomiting;
  • nausea;
  • feeling tired;
  • sleep problems (insomnia).

Rare side effects may include:

  • a feeling like you might pass out;
  • severe or ongoing vomiting;
  • seizure (convulsions);
  • slow heartbeats;
  • new or worsening breathing problems;
  • painful or difficult urination;
  • coughing up vomit that looks like coffee grounds;
  • bloody or tarry stools;
  • severe heartburn or stomach pain.

To make sure that this medication is safe for you, tell your healthcare professional if you have:

  • a history of stomach ulcers;
  • a heart rhythm disorder;
  • kidney disease;
  • an enlarged prostate or urination problems;
  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
  • liver disease;
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD);
  • trouble swallowing;
  • asthma.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

It is not known precisely whether the medication is excreted into human breast milk or if it will harm a nursing child. Therefore, contact your doctor before using this medication.

There are no conclusive studies to determine the safety of the medication during pregnancy. Hence, it should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the unborn baby.

Drug Interactions

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • Atropine (Atropine Sulfate);
  • Benztropine (Cogentin);
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin);
  • Trihexyphenidyl (Artane);
  • brovana;
  • Dexamethasone (Decadron);
  • Carbamazepine (Tegretol);
  • Rifampin (Rifadin);
  • Phenobarbital (Luminal).

Bottom Line – Exelon Patch vs Aricept

Exelon (active ingredient – rivastigmine) is a prescription medication that is used to treat dementia in sufferers with Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease. Being a cholinesterase inhibitor, this medication functions by increasing the amount of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, that may help to reduce the symptoms of dementia, like – impairment in thinking or changes in personality.

Aricept (active ingredient – donepezil) improves the function of nerve cells in the brain. The medication works by preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine. It is used to treat dementia due to mild, moderate, and severe Alzheimer’s disease.

According to a 2010 study, the majority of people receiving donepezil can be safely switched to rivastigmine patches without substantial deterioration in behavior, cognition,  and global functioning.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4233957/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4321018/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17646619

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