Galantamine is used to treat mild to moderate confusion (dementia) related to Alzheimer's disease. It does not cure Alzheimer's disease, but it may improve memory, awareness, and the ability to perform daily functions. This medication works by restoring the balance of certain natural substances (neurotransmitters) in the brain.
Take this medication by mouth with food, usually twice daily with the morning and evening meals, or as directed by your doctor. Drink plenty of fluids with this medication unless instructed otherwise. To lower your risk of side effects, your dosage will be gradually increased to your target dose. Your dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Do not take more than the maximum recommended dose of 24 milligrams per day.
If you are using the liquid form of this drug, read the manufacturer's instruction sheet that comes with the bottle. Follow the directions exactly. Use the measuring device that comes with the product to measure out your dose. Mix your dose of medication in about 4 ounces (120 milliliters) of nonalcoholic beverage, stir, and drink the entire mixture. Ask your pharmacist about any information that is unclear.
If you stop taking galantamine for longer than 3 days, your doctor may direct you to restart this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose to reduce your risk of side effects. Carefully follow your doctor's instructions.
Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Do not stop taking it or increase the dosage unless your doctor instructs you to do so.
It may take at least 4 weeks of continued use before the full benefit of this drug takes effect.
Inform your doctor if your condition worsens.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: fainting, unusually slow heartbeat, difficult urination.
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: seizures, black/bloody stools, vomit that looks bloody or like coffee grounds, severe stomach/abdominal pain, irregular heartbeat.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
In the US -
Before taking galantamine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to daffodil plants; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver problems, kidney problems, stomach/intestinal problems (e.g., ulcers, bleeding), heart problems (e.g., sick sinus syndrome, bradycardia, AV block, arrhythmias), breathing/lung problems (e.g., severe asthma, COPD-chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), seizures, problems urinating (e.g., due to enlarged prostate).
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medication.
This medication should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Your healthcare professionals (e.g., doctor or pharmacist) may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for it. Do not start, stop or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially of: anticholinergic drugs (e.g., atropine, benztropine, diphenhydramine, scopolamine, tolterodine), aspirin (high doses used for arthritis), cholinergic drugs (e.g., bethanechol), cholinesterase inhibitors (e.g., neostigmine), long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen), drugs affecting liver enzymes that remove galantamine from your body (such as azole antifungals including ketoconazole, amitriptyline, SSRI antidepressants including paroxetine, quinidine).
Also report the use of heart drugs (those that decrease heart rate or block AV impulse conduction) such as: beta-blockers (e.g., metoprolol, propranolol), calcium channel blockers (e.g., diltiazem, verapamil), digoxin.
Check all prescription and nonprescription medicine labels carefully since many medications contain pain relievers/fever reducers (NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen) which, if taken together with galantamine, may increase your risk for stomach/intestinal bleeding. Low-dose aspirin, as prescribed by your doctor for specific medical reasons such as heart attack or stroke prevention (usually at dosages of 81-325 milligrams per day), should be continued. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include muscle weakness or twitching, severe stomach cramping, slow or shallow breathing, slow/fast/irregular heartbeat, fainting, and seizures.
Do not share this medication with others.
Since galantamine may cause loss of appetite and weight loss, your doctor should monitor your weight before and during treatment with this medication.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Brief storage between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) is permitted. Do not store in the bathroom. Do not freeze. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Information last revised December 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
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