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Treatments for Dementia & Memantine - DementiaGuide.com
   
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Treatments for Dementia

Memantine

Memantine goes by several trade names, or brand names, including EbixaTM, NamendaTM (in the United States) and AxuraTM. It is an NMDA

NMDA, or N-Methyl-D-aspartic acid.

 

(N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor antagonist, making it distinct from cholinesterase inhibitors , the other class of compounds commonly used to treat people with Alzheimer's disease . Although it has been used in Europe for many years, it has only been made available more recently in Canada and the United States. The reason to block the NMDA receptor is to block transmission of a brain chemical called glutamate . Glutamate is a neurotransmitter , which is used widely throughout the brain, but too much glutamate is felt to cause calcium overload in brain cells. The theory is called Glutamatergic Excitotoxicity.

Several studies have evaluated the role of memantine in Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. The original emphasis was on people with moderately severe dementia where the drug has been used on its own. It has also been used in combination with Benazepril. In each case the improvements seemed to be about the same level as using one of the cholinergic drugs.

Memantine has provided patients with a new mechanism of action, and thereby offers an important additional choice. Briefly, memantine is taken twice a day, with food. The starting dose is 5 mg/day. After a week, this is increased to 5 mg, twice a day. If it is well tolerated, most patients will be increased to the 10 mg/ once a day and 5 mg once a day, after which the dose increases to 10 mg twice a day. Usually, after starting at the 10 mg twice a day dose, at least two months are needed to know whether the drug is meeting the goals of treatment.

See Also:
About Dementia > Types of Dementia > Vascular Dementia
About Dementia > Treatments for Dementia > Neurotransmitters
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Last updated December 10, 2017
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