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EU Approves of Novartis' Exelon to Treat Alzheimer's

The drugmaker Novartis said Monday that the European Commission had approved its Exelon skin patch to treat Alzheimer's disease.

The patch, which was approved in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration last July, provides a regular and continuous dose of the drug, which is also called rivastigmine and can be administered in capsule form.

The drug aims to treat the symptoms of mild to moderate dementia by inhibiting the breakdown of a chemical in the brain called acetylcholine, which is believed important for learning and memory.

The company said the degenerative disease affects 18 million people worldwide and is the third leading cause of death behind cardiovascular disease and cancer. The skin patch is applied once a day to the back, chest or upper arm.

Novartis shares rose 0.7% to 64.90 Swiss francs ($55.37) in trading Monday in Zurich.