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Exelon Side Effects

Generic Name: rivastigmine

Note: This document contains side effect information about rivastigmine. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Exelon.

In Summary

Common side effects of Exelon include: abdominal pain, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and anorexia. Other side effects include: anxiety, asthenia, depression, drowsiness, dyspepsia, fatigue, tremor, diaphoresis, flatulence, and malaise. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to rivastigmine: oral capsule, oral solution

Other dosage forms:

Along with its needed effects, rivastigmine (the active ingredient contained in Exelon) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking rivastigmine:

More Common

Less Common

  • Fainting

Rare

  • Aggression
  • convulsions (seizures)
  • trembling and shaking of the hands and fingers
  • trouble urinating

Incidence Not Known

  • Bloody or black, tarry stools
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • constipation
  • difficulty with speaking
  • drooling
  • lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • loss of balance control
  • muscle trembling, jerking, or stiffness
  • restlessness
  • severe stomach pain
  • shortness of breath
  • shuffling walk
  • slow or irregular heartbeat
  • stiffness of the limbs
  • trouble urinating
  • twisting movements of the body
  • uncontrolled movements, especially of the face, neck, and back
  • unusual tiredness
  • vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking rivastigmine:

Symptoms of Overdose

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • increased sweating
  • increased watering of the mouth
  • irregular, fast, slow, or shallow breathing
  • lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • nausea (severe)
  • pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
  • seizures
  • slow or irregular heartbeat
  • trouble breathing
  • unusual tiredness
  • vomiting (severe)

Some side effects of rivastigmine may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More Common

  • Abdominal or stomach pain or cramping
  • bloated or full feeling
  • confusion
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • mental depression
  • seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
  • trouble sleeping

Less Common

  • General feeling of discomfort or illness
  • runny nose

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to rivastigmine: oral capsule, oral solution, transdermal film extended release

Dermatologic

Common (1% to 10%): Hyperhidrosis

Rare (less than 0.1%): Rash

Frequency not reported: Pruritus

Postmarketing reports: Stevens-Johnson syndrome disseminated allergic dermatitis[Ref]

Cardiovascular

Common (1% to 10%): Hypertension, bradycardia

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hypotension

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Angina pectoris

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Cardiac arrhythmia (e.g., bradycardia, atrioventricular block, atrial fibrillation, tachycardia)

Frequency not reported: Sick sinus syndrome[Ref]

Gastrointestinal

Very common (10% or more): Nausea (47%), vomiting (31%)diarrhea (19%), abdominal pain (13%)

Common (1% to 10%): Dyspepsia, salivary hypersecretion, upper abdominal pain, flatulence, eructation

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Gastric and duodenal ulcers

Very rare (less than 0.01%): GI hemorrhage, pancreatitis

Frequency not reported: Some cases of severe vomiting were associated with esophageal rupture[Ref]

Genitourinary

Common (1% to 10%): Urinary incontinence

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Urinary tract infection[Ref]

Hepatic

Frequency not reported: Elevated liver function tests, hepatitis[Ref]

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Tremor (23%), dizziness (21%)

Common (1% to 10%): Somnolence, bradykinesia, dyskinesia, cogwheel rigidity, hypokinesia, vertigo, psychomotor hyperactivity, gait disturbance, Parkinson gait, headache

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Syncope, dystonia

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Seizures[Ref]

Psychiatric

Common (1% to 10%): Insomnia, confusion, depression, anxiety, hallucination, agitation, restlessness, nightmares[Ref]

Local

Common (1% to 10%): Application site erythema, application site irritation (e.g., pruritus, rash)

Postmarketing reports: Application site hypersensitivity, urticaria, blister, allergic dermatitis[Ref]

Metabolic

Very common (10% or more): Anorexia (17%)

Common (1% to 10%): Decreased appetite

Frequency not reported: Dehydration[Ref]

Other

Common (1% to 10%): Asthenia, weight loss, fatigue, malaise, fall[Ref]

Respiratory

Common (1% to 10%): Rhinitis[Ref]

References

1. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

2. "Product Information. Exelon (rivastigmine)" Novartis Pharmaceuticals, East Hanover, NJ.

3. Monastero R, Lopez G, Mannino M, Camarda R "Erythematous maculopapular eruption due to rivastigmine therapy." Am J Med 111 (2001): 583-4

4. Kayrak M, Yazici M, Ayhan SS, Koc F, Ulgen MS "Complete atrioventricular block associated with rivastigmine therapy." Am J Health Syst Pharm 65 (2008): 1051-3

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.

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