Memantine (Namenda) for Treating Symptons of Dementia

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Namenda® was the first drug to offer treatment for moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease and dementia. It was approved by the FDA in 2003.

Memantine, commonly prescribed under the brand name Namenda® in the United States, is the first of a new class of drugs designed to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Other Alzheimer’s drugs — such as Aricept® — work by improving communication between brain cells. Memantine works differently, preventing the damage and destruction of brain cells that occurs due to increased levels of a chemical in the brain called glutamate.

Memantine helps keep cells from being overstimulated or getting “burned out” from too much glutamate. As a result, individuals who take memantine may have improved memory and ability as compared to those who don’t take the medication. Memantine is more commonly prescribed to individuals in middle to late stages of dementia since it can often help individuals for whom cholinesterase inhibitors have stopped working. Furthermore, as the drugs affect the brain in different ways, individuals may use both cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine at the same time, if a doctor recommends it.

It is important to remember that memantine and other Alzheimer’s drugs do not stop or reverse dementia’s progression, but they can help slow the disease. In general, individuals who use memantine experience few side effects. The most commonly experienced side effects include dizziness, headaches, and constipation. Memantine may not be suitable for individuals with kidney or liver disease or a seizure disorder.


Facts About Memantine

Source: Alzheimer's Association
Description: This fact sheet provides information on the Alzheimer's drug memantine (trade name: Namenda®) - what it is, how it works, its risks and benefits, and other details.

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Drugs in Clinical Trials: Memantine (Ebixa®, Namenda®)

Source: Alzheimer's Research Forum
Description: This web page provides basic information on memantine (Ebixa®, Namenda®) and discusses evidence for its efficacy.

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