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What does it do?

Rivastigmine is used to treat symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, such as confusion or memory loss.

Before you start

  • Tell your doctor if you have heart or bladder problems, or if you have ever had a stomach ulcer.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Your doctor may do a heart test (ECG) before you start and while you are taking rivastigmine.

How should you take it?

Use rivastigmine regularly as directed. Take with food and a glass of water.

What if you forget a dose?

If it is nearly time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the usual time. Otherwise, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Do not take two doses at the same time.

Can you take other medicines?

Some medicines available without a prescription may react with rivastigmine including:

  • some antihistamines or anti-nausea medicines such as promethazine, chlorphenamine, hyoscine patches, or meclozine. These can also be in medicines for allergies and colds.

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking, including vitamins, herbal products or recreational drugs.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Coughing or vomiting of blood, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, red or black bowel motions

Symptoms of a slow or irregular heartbeat including: feeling your heart skips a beat, dizziness or fainting

Tell your doctor immediately

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, indigestion, loss of appetite, weight loss

Dizziness, tremor

Low mood

Tell your doctor if troublesome

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Rivastigmine can impair your ability to do tasks such as driving or using machines. Alcohol makes this worse. Discuss your risk with your health professional. (search NZTA - Are you safe to drive?)

This leaflet contains important, but not all, information about this medicine.

Prepared by the MyMedicines Committee at Christchurch Hospital, Te Whatu Ora - Waitaha, New Zealand. March 2023

For more general information about this sheet and its contents, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

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About My Medicines

My Medicines Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) contain important, but not all, information about the medicines they describe.

For more information about the sheets, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

My Medicines is developed by a team at Te Whatu Ora – Waitaha. Our team is made up of doctors, pharmacists, and a non-medical person to help us keep to plain language. We also discuss our information with specialist health professionals or groups when needed