The Food and Drug Administration today approved a new treatment option for Alzheimer"s patients in the form of a patch to replace the traditional pill.
The Exelon patch, made by the Swiss drug maker Novartis AG, is meant to treat mild to moderate cases of the disease. By being applied to the patient"s back, chest or upper arm, the patch can provide a continuous level of the drug in the bloodstream for 24 hours. The Exelon patch also helps reduce the nausea and vomiting associated with other Alzheimer's drugs, Novartis said.
"The unique delivery system helps both the patient and the caregiver by providing a much easier way to manage their therapy," said George Grossberg, at St. Louis University in Missouri. "The patch provides a visual reassurance for the caregiver that the patient is receiving their medication and helps the patient stay engaged in the activities of daily living."
The Exelon patch is expected to be available in U.S. pharmacies soon, the drug maker said.
Alzheimer's, a degenerative brain disease that can cause severe lapses in memory, afflicts more than 5 million people in the United States and 18 million worldwide.