Does Pairing Exercise with Rivastigmine Patch Improve Alzheimer’s Outlook?


The Rivastigmine transdermal patch is used to treat some people with dementia in Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Rivastigmine is classified as a medication called a cholinesterase inhibitor. It functions by increasing the amount of a certain natural substance in the brain, which improves mental function (such as memory and thinking).1


Use physical exercise in conjunction with the Rivastigmine transdermal patch resulted in significant improvements in quality of life measures as compared to use of the patch alone. The ability to perform activities of daily living were lower in the individuals who received the patch only, but they did experience an improvement in functional mobility compared to baseline. The results suggest that physical activity is beneficial for cognitive function in this group of patients.2


Research presented in a 2014 issue of Current Alzheimer Research was conducted to determine whether use of the Rivastigmine transdermal patch in complement with physical activity was associated with changes in quality of life, cognition, activities of daily living, and functional mobility in Alzheimer’s patients versus using the Rivastigmine transdermal patch alone. The researchers conducted a randomized, controlled, single-blinded trial that included 40 patients with mild to moderate stages of Alzheimer’s disease. All of the patients received the Rivastigmine transdermal patch daily at a dose of 4.6mg. They were randomly placed into two groups, with one being physical exercise with the patch and the other being the control group who received the patch only. Their exercise program included aerobic, flexibility, strength and balance movements twice a week for 6 months. Outcomes were evaluated using the Quality of Life in Alzheimer’s disease scale (QOL), Activities of Daily Living Questionnaire (ADL), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), and “Time Up and Go Test”.

The study began with 40 patients and experienced some attrition, with 34 patients completing the 6 month study. The results showed only statistically significant improvement to QOL scores in the patients who were part of the physical activity randomization group. There were not any differences in cognitive functions between the two groups. The ability to perform the ADL was lower in the randomized group that received the Rivastigmine patch only. However, this group experienced an improvement in functional mobility.

The researchers concluded that their results indicate an association between physical activity and Rivastigmine transdermal patch improves Quality of Life scores in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. They recommended further research be conducted on the possible relationship between physical activity and Alzheimer’s disease.


  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Rivastigmine Transdermal Patch. Accessed September 1, 2016.
  2. Aguiar P, Monteiro L, Feres A, Gomes I, Melo A. Rivastigmine transdermal patch and physical exercises for Alzheimer’s disease: a randomized clinical trial. Current Alzheimer Research. 2014;11:532‐537.

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