Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, estimated to affect more than five million people. It is estimated that there were 35.6 million people with dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, worldwide in 2010. This number is projected to nearly double every 20 years, increasing to 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050. The total worldwide costs of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, were estimated to be around one percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010, at more than US $600 billion. This includes costs attributed to informal unpaid care, community or residential-based care and treatment.
Galantamine is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor approved to treat symptoms of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease such as memory loss. There is no evidence that galantamine alters the course of the underlying process of dementia. While the precise mechanism of galantamine's action is unknown, it is believed to achieve its therapeutic effect by increasing the concentration of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine by inhibition of the enzyme cholinesterase which breaks down acetylcholine.
Although the cause of cognitive impairment in Alzheimer's disease is not fully understood, it has been reported that neurons that produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, degenerate in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's. The degree of this neuronal loss has been correlated with degree of cognitive impairment and density of amyloid plaques, a neuropathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.In the United States, galantamine is sold as RAZADYNE® and RAZADYNE® ER by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Important Safety Information In clinical trials, once-daily treatment with RAZADYNE ® ER was well tolerated and the adverse events were similar to those seen with twice daily RAZADYNE ® tablets. Anesthesia Cholinesterase inhibitors, such as galantamine HBr, are likely to exaggerate the neuromuscular blocking effects of succinylcholine-type and similar neuromuscular blocking agents during anesthesia.