UPDATE 1-Novartis gets U.S. approval for Alzheimer patch

Mon Jul 9, 2007 2:27am EDT

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ZURICH, July 9 (Reuters) - Pharmaceutical group Novartis (NOVN.VX) said on Monday it had received U.S. approval for Exelon Patch, which delivers a treatment for Alzheimer's disease through a skin patch instead of an oral capsule.

The medication was submitted for review in the European Union in late 2006, Novartis said.

The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also approved the use of Exelon Patch in treating patients with mild to moderate Parkinson's disease dementia, Novartis said.

The Exelon Patch, which is applied to the back, chest or upper arm, maintains steady drug levels in the bloodstream, improving tolerability and allowing a higher proportion of patients to receive therapeutic doses of medication, with potential improvements in efficacy, Novartis said.

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, degenerative disease that alters the brain, causing impaired memory, thinking and behaviour.

Approximately 18 million people worldwide have Alzheimer's disease, Novartis said.

Parkinson's disease is a chronic and progressive neurological condition that affects approximately 1.5 million people in the United States. Two out of five people with Parkinson's disease are estimated to have Parkinson's disease dementia.

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