Reminyl (galantamine HBr) is now being marketed under the trade name Razadyne. The change took effect July 1, 2005. Marketed by Ortho-McNeil Neurologics, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, Razadyne is a twice-daily treatment for the symptoms of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease. The company also recently received FDA approval for Razadyne ER?a new once-daily treatment for the disease.
The name change was to help avoid confusion with Sanofi-Aventis' diabetes drug Amaryl (glimepiride). Ortho- McNeil Neurologics worked closely with the FDA about necessary actions upon learning of several reports of prescribing and dispensing errors between Reminyl and Amaryl. In 2 cases, patients with Alzheimer's disease were given Amaryl, resulting in their deaths.
The decision to change Reminyl rather than Amaryl was made because the diabetes drug was on the market first, according to Doug Arbesfeld, executive director, public affairs for Global Pharmaceutical Communications at Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Services. Reminyl has been on the market since 2001. To date, approximately 2 million patients have been treated with Reminyl. If a patient brings in a prescription for Reminyl dated before July 1, 2005, the pharmacy will fill the prescription with Razadyne, according to Arbesfeld.
In an effort to raise awareness and educate physicians, pharmacists, patients, and their caregivers about the possibility for confusion related to the names of the products, the pharmaceutical company is continuing its aggressive communications campaign. The company first launched an educational campaign in October 2004. The campaign included letters to health care professionals, pharmacy education, outreach to professional medical societies and disease-related consumer advocacy organizations, and a brochure for caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's disease. Information is also available on the Reminyl and Razadyne Web sites: www.reminyl.com and www.razadyne.com.