Razadyne (Galantamine) is a treatment to slow the progression of symptoms in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease (AD), produced by Janssen.

How Razadyne works

Razadyne acts to improve communication between nerve cells, by increasing the levels of the essential neurotransmitter (a chemical messenger that transmits signals between nerve cells) acetylcholine, which is involved in learning, thinking, and memory processes.

The symptoms of AD are believed to be caused by the death of nerve cells in the brain. This loss can include nerve cells producing acetylcholine. As these nerve cells die, less acetylcholine is produced. This results in a disruption of these essential cognitive processes and can cause the symptoms of AD.

In healthy cells, an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase triggers the breakdown of acetylcholine to prevent its excess build-up in the brain. Razadyne acts to reversibly block acetylcholinesterase, which allows for the levels of acetylcholine to increasenaturally.

This treatment has only been seen to alleviate the symptoms of AD, but cannot stop the progression of the disease.

Razadyne in clinical trials

In February 2001, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the marketing of Razadyne for mild to moderate AD patients, based on the results of five randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials.

Researchers measured the effectiveness of Razadyne, compared to placebo using a series of cognitive and clinical tests. The Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale – Cognition (ADAS-cog) was used to measure memory, language skills, and reasoning. During the test, patients are assigned a score from 0-70 based on their level of cognitive impairment. A higher score indicates that the patient has more severe symptoms, and the score usually increases each year as the disease progresses. A second test, the Clinician’s Interview-Based Impression of Change plus Caregiver information (CIBIC-plus), provides a global assessment of behavior, thinking, and the ability to carry out daily activities (such as eating, dressing, shopping and managing finances).

In all five trials patients treated with Razadyne showed a modest but significant benefit to cognition, behavior, and daily activity as measured by the ADAS-cog and CIBIC-plus tests compared to those treated with placebo. Furthermore, recent studies have suggested that Razadyne could delay the need to enter a nursing home in AD patients.

Other information

The most common adverse effects associated with Razadyne treatment are nausea (sickness), diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, and anorexia (decreased appetite).

Razadyne was formerly known as Reminyl, and is available as both immediate release and extended release tablets.

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