Galantamine

  • Galantamine helps ease the symptoms of dementia in Alzheimer's disease.
  • Take your doses with a snack or just after a meal.
  • Drink plenty of water while you are taking galantamine.
Type of medicine Acetylcholinesterase inhibitor
Used for Mild to moderate dementia associated with Alzheimer's disease
Also called Reminyl®
Reminyl® XL
Available as Tablets, modified release capsules, and oral solution

Galantamine cannot cure dementia or Alzheimer's disease but it can slow down the progression of dementia and can help to ease the symptoms of memory loss, confusion and changes in behaviour. It works by increasing the amount of a natural chemical in the brain called acetylcholine which is known to be lower in people with Alzheimer's dementia.

Before taking galantamine make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you have liver, kidney or heart problems.
  • If you have ever had a stomach ulcer.
  • If you have asthma or any other problem which affects your breathing.
  • If you have difficulty passing urine or have severe constipation.
  • If you have recently had any surgery to your stomach, intestines or bladder.
  • If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal or complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or any other medicine.
  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack.
  • Take galantamine exactly as your doctor has told you. It is usually started at a low dose and then increased slowly. This is to reduce the risk of unpleasant side-effects.
  • Take galantamine with a snack or just after a meal.
  • If you are taking the modified release form of galantamine (Reminyl® XL), swallow the capsules whole. Do not chew or open the capsules.
  • Try to take your doses of galantamine at the same times each day to avoid missing any doses.
  • Doses of the oral solution are measured using a pipette which is supplied with the bottle. Each 1 ml contains 4 mg of galantamine. If you are unsure how to measure out your dose, ask your pharmacist to show you. The solution can be taken mixed with any non-alcoholic drink.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
  • Make sure that you drink plenty of water while you are taking galantamine.
  • Keep your regular appointments with your doctor so your progress can be monitored. Your doctor may want to increase your dose as you adjust to the new medicine.
  • It may take several weeks before galantamine appears to take effect.
  • If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking galantamine.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Common side-effects What can I do if I experience this
Feeling or being sick, indigestion, stomach pain Eat little and often. Stick to simple or bland foods
Diarrhoea Drink plenty of water to replace any lost fuids
Dizziness, drowsiness, feeling tired If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines
Headache Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues, tell your doctor
Loss of appetite, weight loss, increased sweating, mood changes, fainting, feeling unwell, shakiness, and changes in your blood pressure If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
  • Do not keep the oral solution for longer than 3 months once the bottle has been opened. Make sure you order a fresh supply from your doctor.

  • Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else has taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
  • This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
  • Never keep out of date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
  • If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

  • British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
  • Manufacturer's PIL, Reminyl® Tablets,; Manufacturer's PIL, Reminyl® Tablets, Shire Pharmaceuticals Ltd., electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated May 2010.
  • Manufacturer's PIL, Reminyl® Oral Solution,; Manufacturer's PIL, Reminyl® Oral Solution, Shire Pharmaceuticals Ltd, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated May 2010.
  • Manufacturer's PIL, Reminyl® XL,; Manufacturer's PIL, Reminyl® XL, Shire Pharmaceuticals Ltd, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated August 2010.

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Last Checked:
07/06/2011
Document ID:
3829 (v24)
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