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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2007 Feb;8(2):203-14.

Memantine in the treatment of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease.

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  • 1University of Rochester School of Medicine, Alzheimer's Disease Care Research and Education Program (AD-CARE), Monroe Community Hospital, 435 East Henrietta Road, Rochester, NY 14620, USA.


Memantine is the first and only medication that has been approved by European, US and Canadian regulatory agencies for the treatment of moderate-to-severe Alzheimer's disease (AD). It is an NMDA receptor antagonist that works to prevent excitotoxicity and cell death, which are mediated by the excessive influx of calcium during a sustained release of glutamate. Preclinical studies of memantine reveal that it has the potential to improve memory and learning processes after impairment has occurred, as well as to prevent further neuronal damage. Although memantine has been considered for the treatment of earlier AD, it has not yet been approved for this. Randomized controlled trials of memantine in the treatment of mild-to-moderate AD have demonstrated small treatment effects in measures of cognition, global assessment and behavior favoring the use of memantine. However, the differences between treatment groups were not consistently significant. Two ongoing long-term trials are further investigating the efficacy of memantine in the treatment of mild-to-moderate AD.

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