US patients will be first to try new Alzheimer’s patch

Stockholm: Drug company Novartis is to launch a skin patch treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. US patients will be the first to try the new patch when it goes on the market.

The patch, containing the drug Exelon is absorbed into the skin, helping patients get regular doses rather than having to take tablets.

Research into the treatment has been carried out by Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, which led research into the patch which can be placed almost anywhere on the body to ensure a constant supply direct into the bloodstream.

Novartis Exelon works by preventing the breakdown of the brain neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. The once-day-patch was unveiled at the international Alzheimer’s conference and has been tested in a Swedish study of around 1,200 patients.

It compared taking 12mg pills to a lowdose patch – equivalent to 9.5 mg of Exelon daily – and a high- dose patch, equivalent to 17.4 mg.

The low-dose patch was just as effective as the high-dose pills but pill users suffered three times more nausea and vomiting than patch users.