USMLE

Memantine

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Summary

Memantine is a drug that is used to treat Alzheimer dementia. It works by antagonizing or blocking NMDA receptors in neurons, which reduces excitotoxicity thought to contribute to the disease.  They are used to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer dementia, often in combination with acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. Use of memantine may lead to a few side effects, including dizziness, confusion, and hallucinations.

Key Points

  • Memantine
    • Mechanism
      • NMDA receptor antagonist
        • NDMA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) signaling may cause excitotoxicity (mediated by Ca2+)
        • Believed to decrease intracellular calcium accumulation to aid in the prevention of excitotoxic neuronal damage
    • Clinical Use
      • Alzheimer disease
        • Used for moderate to advanced dementia
    • Adverse Effects
      • Dizziness, confusion, hallucination