Galantamine – action, use and side effects

Galantamine is an organic chemical that occurs naturally in snowdrop bulbs. As the active substance of the drug, it is used in the treatment of diseases associated with damage to peripheral nerves and disturbances in nerve transmission, in the treatment of postoperative atony of the urinary bladder and intestines, as well as in curare poisoning. What is worth knowing about it?

  1. What is Galantamine?

Galantamine (Latin galantamine) is an organic chemical compound, isoquinoline alkaloid, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. Naturally found in snowdrop bulbs.

Since it is a nitrogen-containing compound that can be synthetically obtained or isolated from bulbs and flowers, it is a drug used in the treatment of diseases involving peripheral nerve damage and disturbances in neurotransmission.

It is also used in the treatment of postoperative atony of the urinary bladder and intestines, as well as in poisoning with curare. Moreover, galantamine increases the concentration of acetylcholine.

  1. Action of galantamine

Galantamine is a reversible acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitor and a nicotinic receptor modulator. It works within the connections in the neural network and the neuromuscular plate. Increases the activity of the cholinergic system.

The substance penetrates the central nervous system and facilitates nerve conduction. Galantamine is parasympathomimetic, increasing the tone of skeletal muscles, causing bronchospasm, increasing the secretion of sweat and digestive juices, and constricting the pupils.

As a drug, it is used in the treatment of diseases associated with damage to peripheral nerves and disturbances in nerve transmission. In addition, it improves memory in healthy people.

Galantamine given to people with Alzheimer’s dementia improves cognitive functions, general functioning, and activities of daily living, and delays the onset of behavioral disorders. In addition, it antagonizes the effects of non-depolarizing skeletal muscle relaxants.

  1. The use of galantamine

Galantamine is a drug used in the treatment of neuromuscular diseases, diseases of the spinal cord with damage to peripheral nerves, and disturbances in neurotransmission, for example in various forms of dementia.

The substance is used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease because it increases the level of the neurotransmitter that is deficient in this disease, i.e. acetylcholine by inhibiting the enzyme acetylcholinesterase.

It is also present in treatments for other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Pick’s disease, cerebral palsy, trigeminal inflammation, as well as in myasthenia gravis, sciatica, polyneuropathies, and myopathies.

Moreover, due to its contractile effect on muscles, galantamine is used in the treatment of postoperative atony of the urinary bladder and intestines, as well as in poisoning with curare. Galantamine can also be found in dietary supplements because:

  • can support the proper quality of sleep, it helps to fall asleep It is also popular as an inducer [lucid sleep, increases the sharpness, length, and memory of dreams,
  • can have a relaxing effect and relieve stress levels,
  • improves neuromuscular conduction,
  • increases cognitive functions, improving memory and the process of restoring remembered information. Galantamine improves cognitive functions in healthy people, mainly through increased activity of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
  1. Side effects and contraindications

Taking galantamine can cause side effects such as nausea and diarrhea. Other side effects include:

  • constriction of the pupil
  • excessive tearing
  • rapid breathing,
  • bradycardia,
  • atrioventricular block,
  • stenocardia,
  • dizziness and headaches,
  • insomnia,
  • bronchospasm
  • excessive discharge of secretions from the nose and bronchi,
  • salivation,
  • increased peristalsis,
  • stomach pain,
  • hypotension,
  • hypertension,
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • excessive sweating,
  • muscle cramps,
  • itching
  • skin rash
  • hives
  • rhinitis,
  • severe hypersensitivity reactions,
  • loss of consciousness.

Note that drugs with anticholinergic properties that cross the blood/brain barrier, such as atropine, benztropine, and trihexyphenidyl, counteract the effects of galantamine.

The effects of galantamine may be worsened by asthma, lung disease, epilepsy or a history of seizures, heart conditions including a slow heartbeat or murmur of the heart, kidneys or liver, stomach ulcers, respiratory problems, and a diseased urinary tract. It should not be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding


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