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J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2006 Oct;16(5):517-24.

A prospective, open-label trial of memantine in the treatment of cognitive, behavioral, and memory dysfunction in pervasive developmental disorders.

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  • 1University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Psychiatry, Institute for Juvenile Research, Chicago, Illinois 60608, USA.



This pilot study examined the effectiveness of memantine hydrochloride in improving cognitive functioning and behavioral symptoms in children with pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs).


Subjects aged 3-12 years inclusive were enrolled in this 8-week, open-label study. Expressive and receptive language, nonverbal IQ, and nonverbal memory measures were administered at baseline and after 8 weeks of treatment with 0.4 mg/kg of memantine hydrochloride. Throughout the study, the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC) was sent in weekly by parents as a measure of behavioral change.


Twelve of 14 subjects completed the study. Significant improvement from baseline was noted on the memory test (Children's Memory Scale Dot Learning Subtest). There were no significant differences from baseline on measures of expressive or receptive language or nonverbal IQ. There were significant improvements on a number of ABC subscales, including hyperactivity, lethargy, and irritability. There were no overall significant statistical differences from baseline on the Clinical Global Improvement-Severity (CGI-S) scale. On the Clinical Global Improvement-Improvement (CGI-I), 4 of 14 subjects showed minimal improvement, and none was deemed "much-improved" or "very much improved."


This small, prospective, open-label study suggests that memantine may be useful in the treatment of memory functioning and some behavioral symptoms in PDDs. The investigators did not see the same degree of change as endorsed by caretakers. Controlled studies are needed to substantiate and clarify these preliminary findings.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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