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New bi-weekly rivastigmine patch for patients with Alzheimer’s disease

The first rivastigmine patch which can be applied twice weekly rather than daily has been launched in the UK.

The first rivastigmine patch which can be applied twice weekly rather than daily has been launched in the UK.

Zeyzelf (rivastigmine) is a treatment for adults with mild to moderately severe Alzheimer’s dementia that can help to improve mental function.

Typically, transdermal rivastigmine patches have to be applied daily, so this new twice weekly treatment is hoped to boost adherence to the treatment. It is also 52% less expensive than some rivastigmine patches.1

How does rivastigmine work?

Rivastigmine is in a class of medications called cholinesterase inhibitors which improve mental function. However, while it may improve the ability to think and remember – or slow the loss of these abilities – it does not cure Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

In patients with Alzheimer’s dementia, certain nerve cells die in the brain, resulting in low levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (a substance that allows nerve cells to communicate with each other).

Rivastigmine works by blocking the enzymes that break down acetylcholine: acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase. By blocking these enzymes, rivastigmine allows levels of acetylcholine to be increased in the brain, helping to reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

Hope for better adherence and compliance

In older patients, transdermal delivery of rivastigmine may have advantages over other delivery routes, such as oral medications, as it provides ease of use for the patient and carer and has less risk of toxicity and ‘dose dumping’. It is also useful when elderly patients are unable to tolerate or unwilling to swallow tablets.2

In one study, Zeyzelf twice weekly demonstrated better skin adhesion than a daily rivastigmine patch (95% compared to 67% for the comparison patch) – an important function since good adhesion is critical for safety and efficacy.3

The drug’s manufacturer, Luye Pharma Ltd, says the patch will “significantly reduce the carer burden and also potentially improve compliance.”

The product has been “incredibly well received in Spain”, according to Andy Farrant, General Manager of Luye Pharma Ltd, and the company hopes this will be the same in the UK.

Alzheimer’s disease set to affect one million people in the next two years

“We are incredibly excited about the launch of Zeyzelf twice weekly, as it marks a new treatment option for Alzheimer’s dementia, a disease which is set to affect one million people in the next two years,” said Mr Farrant.

“There have been very few advancements in Alzheimer’s in the past decade, so being at the forefront of a new treatment is something we are rightly proud of.

“Zeyzelf twice weekly is now our third UK drug and we will be bringing more innovative products to market in 2024 as part of our overall drive to be specialists in the area of diseases of the central nervous system.”



  1. Zeyzelf twice weekly patches provides a considerable cost saving compared to the daily transdermal patch Exelon, with >50% cost savings. Source: NHSBSA Drug Tariff (England and Wales). September 2023
  2. Vadivelu N, Hines R L. Clin Interv Aging, 2008 Sep; 3(3): 421-430
  3. Schurad B et al. Current Alzheimer Research, 2022, 19, 541-553

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