Brands, Medical Use, Clinical Data
- Dopamine Agents
- Antiparkinson Agents
- Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
- Central Nervous System Agents
Brands / Synonyms
DMAA; Ebixa; Memantina [INN-Spanish]; Memantine HCL; Memantine Hydrochloride; Memantine [INN]; Memantinum [INN-Latin]; Namenda; Namenda
For the treatment of moderate to severe dementia of the Alzheimer's type.
Memantine, an amantadine derivative, is an NMDA receptor antagonist used in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. It differs from traditional agents used in Alzheimer's disease by acting on glutamatergic neurotransmission, rather than cholinergic. There is some evidence that dysfunction of glutamatergic neurotransmission, manifested as neuronal excitotoxicity, is involved in the aetiology of Alzheimer's disease (Cacabelos et al., 1999). As such, targeting the glutamatergic system, specifically NMDA receptors, was a novel approach to treatment in view of the limited efficacy of existing drugs targeting the cholinergic system. A systematic review of randomised controlled trials found that memantine has a positive effect on cognition, mood, behaviour, and the ability to perform daily activities. There is no evidence that memantine prevents or slows neurodegeneration in patients with Alzheimer's disease.
Mechanism of Action
Memantine exerts its action through uncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonism, binding preferentially to the NMDA receptor-operated cation channels. Prolonged increased levels of glutamate in the brain of demented patients are sufficient to counter the voltage-dependent block of NMDA receptors by Mg2+ ions and allow continuous influx of Ca2+ ions into cells and ultimately neuronal degeneration. Studies suggest that memantine binds more effectively than Mg2+ ions at the NMDA receptor, and thereby effectively blocks this prolonged influx of Ca2+ ions through the NMDA channel whilst preserving the transient physiological activation of the channels by higher concentrations of synaptically released glutamate. Thus memantine protects against chronically elevated concentrations of glutamate.
Well absorbed orally with a bioavailability of approximately 100%. Peak plasma concentrations are reached in 3-7 hours. Food has no effect on absorption.
Side effects include pain, abnormal crying, leg pain, fever, increased apetite. Adverse drug reactions include: dizziness, confusion, headache, hallucinations, tiredness. Less common side effects include: vomiting, anxiety, hypertonia, cystitis, and increased libido. Doses of up to 400 mg have been tolerated.
Biotrnasformation / Drug Metabolism
Excreted largely unchanged. About 20% is metabolized to 1-amino-3-hydroxymethyl-5-methyl-adamantane and 3-amino-1-hydroxy-5,7-dimethyl-adamantane.
NAMENDA (memantine hydrochloride) is contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to memantine
hydrochloride or to any excipients used in the formulation.
N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonists: The combined use of NAMENDA with other NMDA antagonists
(amantadine, ketamine, and dextromethorphan) has not been systematically evaluated and such use should be approached
Effects of NAMENDA on substrates of microsomal enzymes: In vitro studies
conducted with marker substrates of CYP450 enzymes (CYP1A2, -2A6, -2C9, -2D6, -2E1, -3A4) showed minimal inhibition
of these enzymes by memantine. In addition, in vitro studies indicate that at concentrations exceeding those
associated with efficacy, memantine does not induce the cytochrome P450 isozymes CYP1A2, CYP2C9, CYP2E1 and CYP3A4/5.
No pharmacokinetic interactions with drugs metabolized by these enzymes are expected.
Effects of inhibitors and/or substrates of microsomal enzymes on NAMENDA: Memantine is
predominantly renally eliminated, and drugs that are substrates and/or inhibitors of the CYP450 system are not
expected to alter the metabolism of memantine.
Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors: Coadministration of NAMENDA with the AChE inhibitor
donepezil HCl did not affect the pharmacokinetics of either compound. In a 24-week controlled clinical study in
patients with moderate to severe Alzheimerís disease, the adverse event profile observed with a combination of
memantine and donepezil was similar to that of donepezil alone.
Drugs eliminated via renal mechanisms: Because memantine is eliminated in part by tubular secretion,
coadministration of drugs that use the same renal cationic system, including hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ), triamterene
(TA), metformin, cimetidine, ranitidine, quinidine, and nicotine, could potentially result in altered plasma levels
of both agents. However, coadministration of NAMENDA and HCTZ/TA did not affect the bioavailability of either
memantine or TA, and the bioavailability of HCTZ decreased by 20%. In addition, coadministration of memantine with
the antihyperglycemic drug GlucovanceÒ (glyburide and metformin HCl) did not affect
the pharmacokinetics of memantine, metformin and glyburide. Furthermore, memantine did not modify the serum glucose
lowering effect of GlucovanceÒ.
Drugs that make the urine alkaline: The clearance of memantine was reduced by about 80% under
alkaline urine conditions at pH 8. Therefore, alterations of urine pH towards the alkaline condition may lead to an
accumulation of the drug with a possible increase in adverse effects. Urine pH is altered by diet, drugs (e.g.
carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, sodium bicarbonate) and clinical state of the patient (e.g. renal tubular acidosis or
severe infections of the urinary tract). Hence, memantine should be used with caution under these conditions.