Alzheimer’s: The Lowdown on Exelon And Aricept

Exelon and Aricept are the two main drugs prescribed to Alzheimer’s disease patients. Aricept in particular has been wrapped in controversy since it was launched onto the market. For instance, the “Drug Facts” box about Aricept states that this drug has “never shown to improve quality of life, independent function or reduce institutionalisation.”

And then there are the side effects associated with these drugs, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle cramps and loss of appetite.

For a frail, older person, those side effects can be a death sentence. Vomiting alone can prompt a cascade of agonizing events. According to the American Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) own description, some of these events include “pneumonia, massive gastrointestinal bleeding, oesophageal rupture or death.”

Not worth the price you pay

Now it turns out that the true extent of exactly how dangerous these drugs can be has been hidden from the public and that medical authorities have been sitting on this data for years.

Exelon and Aricept have now been linked to heart attacks, lung failure, shattered bones, and even sudden death. But you won’t see any warning about these side effects on their labels… Oh no.

If it wasn’t for a healthcare information analytics company, called AdverseEvents, who raised the red flag on these drugs we probably never would’ve known.

AdverseEvents is paid by medical authorities and pharmaceutical manufacturers to analyse data on drug side effects – it allows Big Pharma to know which drugs pose a risk that could land them in court. It’s what they call staying on top of the “litigation risk.”

It was while AdverseEvents combed through years of data about Aricpet and Exelon that the company uncovered the disturbing and long-hidden truth about these drugs.

AdverseEvents found 1,200 reports of deaths in patients taking Exelon, and cases of heart and lung failure. The company also discovered a pattern of bone breaks among Exelon patients.

Aricept was red-flagged after it found cases of sudden death, heart attacks, heart and lung failure, neuroleptic malignant syndrome (a brain disorder that causes muscle rigidity and delirium) and comas linked to the drug.

Of course, Big Pharma will probably try to tell us that these reported side effects mean very little because patients who are taking Exelon and Aricept are elderly, fragile and more likely to suffer from heart disease or even sudden, unexplained death.

But they’re not going to get away with it so easily.

That’s because AdverseEvents uses a special algorithm that screens out these other factors and looks for conditions most likely caused by prescription drugs and not something else.

I cannot help but wonder what’s the real deal with Aricept and Exelon: Are these drugs supposed to help treat a disease that is slowly but surely affecting more and more elderly people? Or are they just simply pushed onto the market to fill the pockets of pharmaceutical companies?

Whatever the case may be, there’s something terribly wrong with this picture ? not only because of the dangers posed by these drugs but also because the public has been kept deliberately in the dark about these risks.

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AdverseEvents: Analysis of side-effect reports turns up troubling safety signals for Novartis, Eisai drugs? Emily Wasserman, April 7, 2015, FiercePharma,