Galantamine (Molecule of the Month for October 2006)
Razadyne, Razadyne, Reminyl, Nivalin
Galantamine is a drug used for the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Galantamine is a competitive and reversible cholinesterase inhibitor. It is believed it works by enhancing cholinergic function by increasing the concentration of acetylcholine in the brain. It is an alkaloid that is obtained from the bulbs and flowers of Caucasian snowdrop (Voronov’snowdrop), Galanthus woronowii (Amaryllidaceae) and related species.
In 2001, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended that the three drugs donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine should be made available in the NHS as one part of the management of some people with mild and moderate Alzheimer's disease.
However in 2006, NICE reversed its recommendation after appeal by the manufactures and said donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine could be used to treat moderate stage disease, also NICE ruled another drug, memantine, should be used only in clinical studies for people with moderately severe to severe Alzheimer's disease. This means the early onset on Alzheimer's disease in its mild form cannot be treated by these drugs here in the UK.
Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for October 2006 )