Memantine - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Memantine: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is Memantine?

Memantine is an oral medication used to treat confusion, forgetfulness (dementia) related to Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder in which brain cells die slowly, resulting in a gradual loss of memory and thinking power. Memantine is an NMDA receptor antagonist, which means it blocks the release of certain substances (glutamate) in neurons, which over-excite and overstimulate brain activity. Memantine doesn’t cure Alzheimer’s disease permanently but improves the symptoms.

What are the uses of Memantine?

Memantine is primarily used for the treatment of brain-related disorders like Alzheimer’s disease for improving symptoms associated with dementia-like confusion, forgetfulness, lack of cognitive function, memory loss, failure to carry out day-to-day activities, etc.

Other neurological conditions for which Memantine is prescribed are:

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Binge eating disorders
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Negative symptoms associated with schizophrenia
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What are the side effects of Memantine?

Some of the common side effects of Memantine are –

  • Drowsiness and dizziness
  • Constipation and diarrhea
  • Confusion and depression
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tingling sensation in the body
  • Aggression
  • Hypertonia or muscle spasms

Some severe adverse effects of Memantine are kidney failure, shortness of breath, seizures, hallucinations, brain hemorrhage, heart failure, suicidal tendency, skin disorders like Stevens-Johnson syndrome, liver disorders like hepatitis, and blood-related disorders like deficiency of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.


Frequently Asked Questions about Memantine

1. What is Memantine prescribed for?

Memantine is prescribed for improving the symptoms of dementia in Alzheimer's disease patients. Though it doesn't cure the disease, it helps improve the symptoms of this disease over time. It is also prescribed for binge eating disorders and improves the symptoms of schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

2. Can Memantine make dementia worse?

No. Memantine actually helps delay the worsening of dementia-related symptoms like memory loss and improve the brain's cognitive functioning. Studies have shown that Memantine use helps Alzheimer's patients better manage their daily routine. It has also been shown to prevent restlessness and confusion associated with dementia, thus improving the quality of life of Alzheimer's disease patients.

3. What is the best time to take Memantine?

Memantine should be taken once a day in the morning or at night at the same time every day. It can be taken before or after meals but the time should be the same every day. For information related to the time and dosage of the medication, it is always best to follow your physician’s advice.

4. Can memantine cause aggression?

Memantine does not commonly induce aggression, rather it is used to cure symptoms like aggression and depression associated with this disease. However, in rare instances, it is shown to cause behavioral disturbance like aggression and irritability which may be because of worsening of Alzheimer's disease rather than the drug itself.

5. Can you take donepezil and memantine at the same time?

Yes. Donepezil (cholinesterase inhibitors) and memantine (NMDA receptor antagonist) are different classes of drugs that are given together for curing the symptoms of dementia associated with Alzheimer’s disease. This fixed-dose combination when used together can significantly improve the physical as well as mental health of Alzheimer’s disease patients.

6. Should Memantine be taken at night?

Memantine can be taken at any time of the day. You must remember to take this medication at the same time every day. Since it may cause a feeling of drowsiness after consumption, you can take it at night to prevent the common side effects associated with Memantine, like sleepiness.

7. What does Memantine do in the brain?

Memantine slows down brain activity by blocking the release of neurotransmitter glutamate by binding to its receptors, thus hampering its action on brain cells. In that way, it protects the vulnerable neurons of the brain from getting overexcited, which is the main cause of brain damage in Alzheimer’s disease.

8. How long can you stay on Memantine?

Memantine can be used as long as your physician recommends it for the treatment of your condition. However many studies have shown that after a year or so, memantine doesn't work in alleviating Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. In that case, it is recommended to revisit your doctor for better advice on the drug regime.

9. Does Memantine cause weight loss?

Apart from Alzheimer's disease, Memantine has also been used to correct binge eating disorders. Some animal studies have shown the effect of Memantine on weight loss. Some clinical studies have also shown that Memantine suppresses hunger, thus helping patients with obesity and binge eating disorders. However, more studies are needed to give a complete picture of it.

10. Does Memantine help you sleep?

Memantine acts on the hyperexcitable brain cells of Alzheimer’s disease patients and slows them down to prevent them from damage. As hyperexcitability dampens and calmness ensues, the feelings of drowsiness and sleepiness can arise and may lead patients to fall asleep. This actually helps Alzheimer’s patients who have fragmented sleep to sleep better.

Consult a specialist at Yashoda Hospitals to know more about memantine treatment and its effects.



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      Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.