Memantine: What is it and How Does It Work?
Memantine is a drug that is used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. It does so by preventing the accumulation of proteins in the brain cells, which can lead to cell death. Memantine also inhibits the release of glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter in neurons. This reduces neuronal activity and prevents excessive stimulation of nerve cells, which may have harmful effects on memory or other cognitive functions. The medication has been found to be safe for long-term use with no serious side effects when taken at the appropriate dosage level.
3 forms of Memantine are available. immediate-release tablet, extended-release tablet, and an oral solution.
The recommended dosage of Memantine is 10mg by mouth once daily for people (including the elderly) with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. It can be taken orally after breakfast or dinner. For patients who are unable to swallow the oral tablet, the contents of the immediate-release tablet can be sprinkled on applesauce and consumed immediately without chewing. The contents of the extended-release tablet can be sprinkled on applesauce or mixed with water, orange juice, or ginger ale (except for ginger ale with carbonation), and consumed immediately without chewing.
Memantine may be combined with other medications. This includes acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Razadyne), rivastigmine (Exelon), and tacrine. Memantine may also be combined with memantine/donepezil or memantine/rivastigmine.
How it works
Memantine is a glutamate antagonist that belongs to the class of drugs known as NMDA receptor antagonists.
NMDA receptors are widespread in the central nervous system, where they mediate neuronal plasticity.
During brain development NMDA receptors are essential for neurons to acquire individual characteristics and their capacity to interact with each other. During adulthood they are involved in learning and memory processes, in particular in situations of enhanced cognitive activity or synaptic plasticity.
Memantine was approved by the FDA in 2003 and is manufactured as Namenda (by Forest Laboratories). It can be taken orally or injected into a vein. The medication comes in tablet form, with doses ranging from five milligrams to 30mg per day. Daily tablets are broken up into smaller pieces for ease of swallowing. Memantine has been used in Europe for over 20 years.
Memantine side effects
Mild or serious adverse effects are possible with memantine oral tablets, extended release tablets and solution.
The FDA-approved prescribing information states that the side effects of memantine HCl include headache, diarrhea, confusion, dizziness, constipation, vomiting, insomnia and trouble sleeping. The side effects of memantine extended-release tablets include headache; diarrhea; loss of appetite; stomach pain; tiredness; and weight loss.
In clinical trials, the side effects that occurred in more than 1 percent of patients taking memantine and at least twice as often as those receiving placebo were headache, diarrhea and dizziness.
Side effects occurred at similar rates regardless of whether memantine was used alone or with other medications to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
If these symptoms are minor, they will usually subside within a few days or a few weeks. If the symptoms are more severe or do not go away, talk to your doctor about whether or not you should continue taking memantine.
Since memantine is removed from the body by dialysis and can interact with other medications, tell your healthcare provider if you are planning to get dialysis treatments while taking memantine.
Serious side effects
If you experience a serious adverse reaction, contact your doctor right away. Serious side effects that may require immediate medical attention include seizures, suicidal thoughts or actions, severe dizziness, severe drowsiness, irregular heartbeat.
Memantine may react with other medicines.
Several other drugs may interact with Memantine oral tablets, causing adverse effects. The concomitant use of Memantine extended release tablets with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) is not recommended by the manufacturer.
Concurrent use of Memantine and a neuregulin 1 receptor antagonist, such as Namenda IR or Ebixa, may result in additive side effects associated with higher plasma levels of memantine.
Other medicines that can interact with Memantine include: levodopa, lorazepam (Ativan), thioridazine (Mellaril), methylphenidate (Ritalin), metoclopramide (Reglan), dextromethorphan, fentanyl (Sublimaze) and pimozide (Orap).
Before taking memantine, talk to your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including vitamins, minerals and herbal products.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Memantine has not been adequately studied in pregnant women. Memantine should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Drugs used to treat glaucoma
This medication can be taken with memantine to boost the amount of memantine in your system. Taking this combination may increase the risk of side effects, such as dizziness and drowsiness.
They are the most widely used group of drugs for which acetazolamide has been prophylactic. Pregnancy, lactation, pregnancy termination, contraception, and fertility are all areas in which acetazolamide can be very helpful.
Acetazolamide is a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor, prescribed for glaucoma, epilepsy, mountain sickness, edema of the larynx or lungs.
Taking sodium bicarbonate with memantine, a drug used to treat heartburn, can boost the amount of memantine in your body.
This combination may increase the risk of side effects. Talk with your doctor before taking sodium bicarbonate with memantine .
Do not take large amounts or use them if you are unable to swallow.
You should make sure your doctor knows what other medications you are taking, including vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Tell your doctor if you regularly drink large amounts of alcohol or caffeine drinks.
Do not use sodium bicarbonate without telling your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding a baby.
Parkinson’s disease medication
Amantadine and memantine have a similar mechanism of action. When they are taken together, their toxicity may increase.
How to take memantine
The amount of memantine your doctor prescribes will be determined by a number of factors. These include:
- Your age, weight, and medical condition
- Other medications you are taking
- Your response to memantine
- The severity of your acetazolamide overdose.
- – Acetazolamide overdose is an emergency that requires immediate medical attention.
- – If acetazolamide overdose is suspected, acetazolamide should be stopped.
This drug includes a number of warnings.
- This drug should not be used if you are allergic to memantine or any ingredients found in this product.
- This medication passes into breast milk.
- This medication should be used only when prescribed and if the benefits outweigh the risks.
- If you are currently pregnant, you should not become pregnant while taking this drug, and for at least 3 months after your last dose.
- Patients who have taken memantine should refrain from activities like driving or operating heavy machinery until they know how it will affect their ability to do these things.
- Patients who take memantine and carry out ambulation activities should use extreme caution to avoid falling.
- The elderly patients using this drug may be at an increased risk for developing pneumonia or hypothermia, as well as those who have a compromised respiratory system or significant cardiac, hepatic, or renal impairment.
- Elderly patients with impaired renal function may be at an increased risk for developing seizures and those who have a history of seizures also increase the chances of developing them while using this drug.
- This is not a complete list of warnings and precautions and you should discuss them with your doctor before taking this drug.
- Please discuss the following points with your doctor: – You should not take memantine if you are allergic to it or if you have phenylketonuria (PKU).
- Do not take any other medications within 2 hours of taking memantine because it can reduce
There are a few things to think about before taking memantine.
If your doctor recommends memantine, keep the following points in mind.
- If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor before taking this drug. …
- You should not take memantine if you have PKU.
- Do not eat foods that contain aspartame within 2 hours of taking memantine because it can reduce its effectiveness.
- You should not take memantine if you have phenylketonuria.
- The elderly may be at a greater risk for developing pneumonia or hypothermia while taking this drug and should use extreme caution when ambulating.
- Elderly patients with renal impairment may be at an increased risk of seizures and those who have a history of seizures also increase the chances of developing them while using this drug.
Memantine is a safe and effective medicine that helps people with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease live longer for up to a year. However, the evidence supporting this hypothesis is limited.
Does memantine improve memory?
Memantine is a prescription drug that’s used to treat moderate to severe dementia (Alzheimer’s disease) caused by Alzheimer’s disease. It does not cure Alzheimer’s disease but it can improve memory, awareness, and the ability to complete daily tasks.
Who should not take memantine?
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking, have lately taken, or might take any other medicines. It is not suggested for children and teenagers under the age of 18 years. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking, have recently used, or could use any other treatments.
Memantine is a prescription drug used to treat moderate to severe dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease. It does not cure the condition, but it can improve memory and awareness of patients with mild or moderate symptoms. If you are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, breastfeeding, have PKU or phenylketonuria (PKU), have renal impairment or impaired kidney function, are elderly and at an increased risk for pneumonia/hypothermia or seizures
Discuss these risks before taking memantine with your doctor. Memantine doesn’t work well in children under 18 years old; therefore they should not take this medication. If you’re currently using other medications that may interact negatively with memantine- consult your doctor about possible interactions and any precautions needed while taking memantine. Although it’s not listed as one of the side effects, some people should take caution and avoid using this drug if you have a history of seizures, epilepsy or other neurological disorders. If you notice any serious side effects while taking memantine- contact your doctor immediately. But don’t worry, most common side effects are mild to moderate and can be easily managed