Drug for Alzheimer’s tested in a skin patch

Still in clinical testing is a skin patch version of a drug that is used to treat Alzheimer’™s disease. The drug is Exelon (rivastigmine tartrate), a drug already on the market in the form of oral capsules and an oral solution. If approved by the FDA, the patch form of Exelon would be applied to the skin once a day. As a transdermal skin patch drug, it would make its way through the skin and into the blood stream, bypassing the liver. Researchers feel that this approach may help minimize side effects of the drug and help maintain a consistent daylong dose level. Recently, information about this form of Exelon was presented at an international Alzheimer’s meeting. Patients who were taking it by mouth were compared to those who got it in a lower dose skin patch. Those who got the patch had less nausea and scored better on cognition tests than those taking the oral form of Exelon. Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, now affects more that 4 million Americans. Health officials are encouraging research that will lead to more effective ways of managing this condition.