ALZHEIMER'S MEDICATION, EXELON*(R), DEMONSTRATES ROBUST EFFECT ON COGNITIVE FUNCTION AND FUNCTIONAL ABILITY

Amsterdam, The Netherlands, (OTS) - The largest impact on
cognitive function published to date in Phase lll trials with Alzheimer's disease patients was demonstrated in trials of Exelon® (rivastigmine, ENA-713), according to new research published in the current issue of the International Journal ofGeriatric Psychopharmacology (volume I, issue 2). Exelon belongs to a new generation of potent, brain-selective acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors.

According to newly published results of this 26-week placebo-controlled study involving nearly 700 participants, more than half (56%) of patients treated with 6-12 mg/day of Exelon showed either improvementor stabilization in their cognitive function at the completion of thetrial according to the ADAS-Cog, a common cognitive measurement scale. In contrast, the majority of patients receiving placebo experienced the progressive deterioration in cognitive abilities generally observed in mild to moderately severe Alzheimer's disease.

The study findings also confirm that many patients treated with Exelon maintained, and in some cases improved their functional ability. As such, these patients were better able to perform both simple andcomplex activities of daily living, such as dressing independently andtraveling without getting lost as measured by the PDS scale, a caregiver rated measure of activities of daily living.

"On all outcomes measures, Exelon provided meaningful benefit for patients with Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Jody Corey-Bloom, MD, Ph.D., lead author of the study group. "By improving or stabilizing cognition and prolonging patients' ability to engage in activities of daily living, Exelon helps enhance their functional ability and offersa measure of relief for increasingly burdened caregivers."

Alzheimer's is a progressive, degenerative disease that alters brain activity and causes impaired memory, thinking and behavior. It affects more than 10 million people worldwide and is often diagnosed late and therefore can remain untreated. Diagnosing and treating Alzheimer's disease with drug therapies that enhance cognition and functional ability have the potential to help preserve or improve the quality of life for patients, their relatives and caregivers.

Exelon, a new medication for Alzheimer's disease marketed by Novartis Pharma, is indicated for the treatment of mild to moderately severe Alzheimer's dementia in the European Union and numerous countries worldwide, including Switzerland, Mexico and Argentina. The published study results are part of the multi-national, Phase III program knownas ADENA, which involved more than 100 centers and 3,300 patients withmild to moderately severe Alzheimer's disease. The most common side effects seen with Exelon are consistent with this class of medication and include those that were gastro-intestinal in nature, which were mild to moderate in intensity and occurred during the titration phase of the study.

Novartis is a world leader in Life Sciences, with core business in Healthcare, Agribusiness and Nutrition. In 1997, Novartis Group sales were 31.2 billion Swiss francs, of which 18.8 billion were in Healthcare, 8.3 billion in Agribusiness and 4.1 billion in Nutrition. The company annually invests more than 3.6 billion Swiss francs in R&D. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis employs about 87,000 people and operates in more than 100 countries around the world.

* Exelon(R) is a trademark of Novartis AG

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