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Memantine for the treatment of moderate to severe confusion related to Alzheimer’s disease.

News June 11, 2019 | CanadaOnlineHealth

According to a report in the National Institute on Aging  , the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease doubles every five years beyond the age of 65.  Someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s every 66 seconds, and it is thought that by 2050 there may be as many as 16 million people with Alzheimer’s disease.   While there is no cure, there is at least hope as medical research continues to find new medications to help delay the progression of the disease. One of the medications is memantine hydrochloride.

Memantine is used to treat confusion related to Alzheimer’s disease, and may help improve awareness, memory, and the ability to successfully perform daily functions. Typically it is prescribed to treat symptoms in those patients with moderate to advanced Alzheimer’s disease.

Generic memantine is also known by its brand name Namenda in the United States.

It is also known the brand name Ebixa in Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.

All three contain the active ingredient memantine hydrochloride.

How does memantine work?

Memantine belongs to a group of drugs called NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor antagonists which function to help slow the decline of cognition and memory in the Alzheimer’s disease patient by blocking glutamate in the brain.

Prescription memantine is often used in combination with other prescription medications such as Aricept, which are cholinesterase inhibitors.   According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there is some evidence that combining cholinesterase inhibitors with memantine may improve the effects of each medication when they work together.  This is, however, still in early trials.

Memantine may take up to 12 weeks to take effect, and ultimately the response time and how well the medication works does depend on the individual.  It is important to note that memantine does not cure Alzheimer’s disease.

How to take prescription memantine

Prescription memantine is available as tablets and oral solution.

Doses typically begin at 10 mg and are gradually increased to 20 mg depending on the patient’s reaction and tolerance for the medication.  It is important that the patient does not stop this medication or increase the dose without specific guidance from their doctor.

Prescription memantine tablets can be taken with or without food.

If the patient is taking memantine oral drops, the dose must be measured out using the oral syringe that comes with the prescription. 

Always speak to your pharmacist and/or doctor about what to do if a dose of memantine is missed.

Prescription memantine side effects

Like most medications prescription memantine may have some side effects, including

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Constipation
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Sleep disturbance

How to store prescription memantine

This prescription should be stored at room temperature and in a dry place.

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