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Galantamine, Oral Tablet

Highlights

  1. Galantamine is an oral drug that’s used to treat dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease. This drug doesn’t cure Alzheimer’s disease.
  2. The usual dose of galantamine is 16–24 mg per day. This dose is taken as one extended-release capsule or it’s divided into two doses per day when taking the oral tablet or solution.
  3. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, decreased appetite, and weight loss.
  4. Galantamine can cause serious skin reactions. Stop this medication and call your doctor right away at the first sign of a rash.
  5. This drug may increase your risk for seizures. Your doctor will watch you closely for risk of a seizure.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Serious skin reaction
Galantamine may cause a serious skin reaction called Stevens-Johnson syndrome or a more general skin rash with bumps. You should stop taking the drug right away and call your doctor at the first sign of a rash.

Slow heart rate
This drug may cause a slow heart rate and fainting. This happens more often in people with heart problems. Call your doctor right away if you have a slow heart rate or fainting.

Risk of worse lung disease
Tell your doctor if you have a history of asthma or other lung diseases. Galantamine may make these conditions worse, so it needs to be used with caution.


What is galantamine?

Galantamine is a prescription drug. It is available in these forms: oral tablet, oral solution and oral extended release capsule.

This drug is available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if the generic will work for you.

Galantamine may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you need to take it with other drugs to treat dementia associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Why it's used

Galantamine is used to treat mild to moderate dementia (problems with mental function or doing daily tasks) associated with Alzheimer’s disease

How it works

Galantamine belongs to a class of drugs called cholinesterase inhibitors. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They have a similar chemical structure and are often used to treat similar conditions.

The cause of Alzheimer’s disease isn’t fully understood. People with this disease have low amounts of a chemical acetylcholine in their brains. A decreased amount of acetylcholine has been linked to dementia. Galantamine works to prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine. This increases the concentration of the chemical in the brain, and may help decrease the symptoms of dementia.

This drug may not work as well when Alzheimer’s disease gets worse. There is no evidence that galantamine prevents Alzheimer’s disease from getting worse.

Galantamine Side Effects

More common side effects

The most common side effects that occur with galantamine include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • decreased appetite
  • weight loss

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • serious skin reactions. Symptoms include:
    • skin rash
  • slow heart rate and fainting
  • stomach ulcers and bleeding. Your risk may be higher if you’ve had stomach ulcers before or if you take aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Symptoms include:
    • heartburn
    • stomach pain that doesn’t go away
    • nausea or vomiting
    • blood in your vomit or dark vomit that looks like coffee grounds
    • bowel movements that look like black tar
  • worsening of lung problems in people with asthma or other lung diseases
  • seizures
  • trouble urinating

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.

Galantamine May Interact with Other Medications

Galantamine can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Drugs used to treat depression

  • amitriptyline
  • desipramine
  • doxepin
  • nortriptyline

These drugs can cause problems with how galantamine works. If you take them together, galantamine may not work as well.

Allergy drugs

  • chlorpheniramine
  • diphenhydramine
  • hydroxyzine

These drugs can cause problems with how galantamine works. If you take them together, galantamine may not work as well.

Motion sickness drugs

  • dimenhydrinate
  • meclizine

These drugs can cause problems with how galantamine works. If you take them together, galantamine may not work as well.

Overactive bladdar medications

  • darifenacin
  • oxybutynin
  • tolterodine
  • trospium

These drugs can cause problems with how galantamine works. If you take them together, galantamine may not work as well.

Stomach medications

  • dicyclomine
  • hyoscyamine
  • loperamide

These drugs can cause problems with how galantamine works. If you take them together, galantamine may not work as well.

Alzheimer's disease medications

  • donepezil
  • rivastigmine

These medications work similarly to galantamine. Taking them together can increase your risk of side effects.

Neuromuscular blockers

  • succinylcholine

This medicine works similarly to galantamine. Taking them together can increase your risk of side effects.

Urinary retention medications

  • bethanechol

This medicine works similarly to galantamine. Taking them together can increase your risk of side effects.


GALANTAMINE WARNINGS

People with heart problems
Let your doctor know if you have heart problems, especially issues with irregular, slow, or fast heart rate. You have a higher risk for experiencing a slow heart rate and fainting while taking galantamine.

People with stomach ulcers or bleeding
Talk to your doctor if you have a history of stomach problems, ulcers, or bleeding. Also mention if you are currently taking any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Galantamine may increase the amount of acid in your stomach. This may put you at risk of having more stomach ulcers or bleeding.

People with lung problems
Talk to your doctor if you have asthma or other lung diseases. Galantamine may make these conditions worse, so it needs to be used with caution.

People with bladder problems
Galantamine may block your bladder, making it difficult to urinate. Talk to your doctor if you’ve had any bladder problems in the past.

People with seizures or epilepsy
Galantamine may cause seizures. Tell your doctor if you’ve ever had seizures. People with Alzheimer’s disease may also be more likely to have seizures.

People with liver problems
Tell your doctor if you have a history of liver problems. If your liver isn’t working well, more of this drug may stay in your body longer. This puts you at greater risk for side effects.

People with kidney problems
Tell your doctor if you have a history of kidney problems. If your kidneys aren’t working well, more of this drug may stay in your body longer. This puts you at greater risk for side effects.

Pregnant women
Galantamine is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Galantamine should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Women who are breast-feeding
It isn’t known if galantamine passes into breastmilk. If it does, it could cause serious side effects in a child who is breastfed.

If you are breastfeeding or thinking about it, talk to your doctor about whether you should take galantamine.

For seniors
You may process this drug more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause the levels of this drug to be higher than normal in your body. You may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

For children
This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in children younger than 18 years.

When to call the doctor
Tell your doctor if you plan to have any surgeries or medical or dental procedures. Taking galantamine with certain medicines used for anesthesia may cause side effects. Tell your doctor or dentist that you’re on galantamine before having any medical or dental surgeries or procedures done.

Allergies
Galantamine can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • hives
  • itching
  • rash
  • peeling or blistering skin

If you have these symptoms, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it before. Taking it a second time after an allergic reaction could be fatal.


How to Take Galantamine

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages and forms. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.

What are you taking this medication for?

Dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease

Generic: galantamine hydrobromide
Form: Oral extended-release capsule
Strengths: 8 mg, 16 mg, 24 mg
Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 4 mg, 8 mg, 12 mg
Form: Oral solution
Strengths: 4 mg/mL, 100 mL bottle

Brand: Razadyne ER
Form: Oral extended-release capsule
Strengths: 8 mg, 16 mg, 24 mg

Brand: Razadyne
Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 4 mg, 8 mg, 12 mg

Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)

  • Extended-release capsules:
    • Starting dose: 8 mg per day taken once per day in the morning
    • Dose adjustment: Your doctor may increase your dose by 8 mg per day after a minimum of 4 weeks.
    • Maintenance dose: 16–24 mg per day taken once per day in the morning
  • Immediate-release tablets and oral solution:
    • Starting dose: 4 mg taken 2 times per day (8 mg per day total)
    • Dose adjustment: Your doctor may increase your dose by 8 mg per day after a minimum of 4 weeks
    • Maintenance dose: 16–24 mg per day divided into two doses

Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)
This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in children under the age of 18 years.

Special considerations

Liver problems: If you have moderate liver disease, generally your dose should not be more than 16 mg per day. Your doctor will adjust your dose accordingly. You shouldn’t take this drug if you have severe liver disease.

Kidney problems: If you have moderate to severe kidney disease, generally your dose should not be more than 16 mg per day. Your doctor will adjust your dose accordingly. If your kidney disease becomes more severe, your doctor may take you off this medication.

Pharmacist's Advice
Galantamine comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you don’t take it at all or stop taking it
If you don't take it regularly, galantamine won’t work as expected and your symptoms may not improve. Don’t stop taking this drug or change the dose without talking to your doctor.

If you miss a dose
If you miss a dose of galantamine, skip that dose. Take your next dose at its usual time. Don’t take two doses at the same time to try to make up for the missed dose.

If you miss taking galantamine for three days or more, talk to your doctor before taking it again. You may need to start taking it at a lower dose.

If you take too much
If you take too much galantamine, you may have the following side effects: severe nausea, vomiting, drooling (salivation), sweating, slow heart rate, low blood, pressure, trouble breathing, seizures, muscle weakness, fainting, trouble urinating

If you think that you’ve taken too much galantamine, call your doctor or poison control center, or go to the emergency room right away. You may be given a drug like atropine to reverse the effects of taking too much galantamine.

How to tell the drug is working
Galantamine may improve your mental function and your ability to do daily tasks. This drug doesn’t cure Alzheimer’s disease.

Galantamine is a long-term drug treatment.

Important considerations for taking galantamine

Take galantamine with meals
Make sure that you’re drinking plenty of fluid while taking this drug. Talk to your doctor about how much fluid you should be drinking each day.

Take this drug at the same time each day
For the extended-release version, be sure to take it in the morning.

Don’t crush or cut the extended-release capsules
Galantamine extended-release capsules should be swallowed whole. The tablets can be crushed or cut.

Storage
This drug must be stored at the right temperature.

  • Galantamine extended-release capsules, tablets, and oral solution should be stored as close to 77°F (25°C) as possible. It can be stored between 59°F (15°C) and 86°F (30°C) if needed.
  • Keep this drug out of the reach of children.
  • Keep it away from light.
  • Keep it away from high temperature.
  • Keep your drugs away from areas where they could get wet, such as bathrooms. Store this drug away from moisture and damp locations.

Prescription is refillable

Travel
When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt this medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff your pharmacy’s label to clearly identify the medication. Keep the original prescription label with you when traveling with your medication.
  • Don’t leave this medicine in the car, especially when the temperature is hot or freezing.

Clinical monitoring
Your doctor will check the following to look for side effects and see how well the medication is working:

  • heart rate
  • weight
  • signs and symptoms of ulcer or bleeding
  • signs and symptoms of dementia

Your diet
Drink plenty of fluids while taking galantamine.

Not every pharmacy stocks this drug, so call ahead

Insurance
Many insurance companies will require a prior authorization before they approve the prescription and pay for galantamine.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.


Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. The drug information contained herein is for informational purposes only. Data sources include the drug manufacturer’s prescribing information and package insert.

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