The FDA has approved a new patch form of Novartis' Alzheimer's disease treatment Exelon (rivastigmine transdermal system), the drugmaker said Monday.
The patch is designed to be applied to the patient’s back, chest or upper arm and helps to maintain a steady level of the drug in the bloodstream. The Exelon patch also cuts gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea and vomiting associated with drugs in its cholinesterase inhibitor class, Novartis said.
The Exelon patch is expected to be available in US pharmacies soon, Novartis said in a statement.
Novartis is hopeful the patch will help tide the company over when it loses patent protection on Exelon pills (rivastigmine tartrate) in August. Exelon pills had sales of $171 million in the first quarter.
Exelon treats mild to moderate forms of Alzheimer’s disease, which afflicts more than 5 million people in the US.