The Alzheimer's drug Reminyl (galantamine hydrobromide) could prove fatal to patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), according to Ortho-McNeil Neurologics, the company that makes the drug. The warning was issued to healthcare professionals following the findings of two clinical trials.
In these studies, half the Reminyl-related deaths were due to vascular problems such as myocardial infarction or stroke, and sudden death. The drug-maker also pointed out that, compared with other studies of the drug, the death rate in placebo-treated MCI patients was notably lower than the mortality rate in placebo-treated Alzheimer patients.
Reminyl is approved in 69 countries for mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's, but not for MCI. People with MCI have memory impairment that is greater than expected for their age and education, and is considered to be a condition separate from Alzheimer's.