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World J Biol Psychiatry. 2013 May;14(4):291-8. doi: 10.3109/15622975.2011.623716. Epub 2012 Mar 22.

A pilot open label prospective study of memantine monotherapy in adults with ADHD.

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  • 1Clinical and Research Program in Pediatric Psychopharmacology and Adult ADHD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Pediatric Psychopharmacology Unit, Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care, Boston, MA 02138, USA.



Available pharmacotherapies treat some adults with ADHD inadequately. A small literature suggests that glutamate modulation could have effects on ADHD.


Memantine, an N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, was titrated to a maximum dose of 10 mg BID in 34 adult subjects aged 18-55 who met DSM-IV criteria for ADHD or ADHD NOS on structured interview. Twenty-eight subjects completed 12 weeks exposure. The Adult ADHD Investigator Symptom Report (AISRS), Clinical Global Impression (CGI), a neuropsychological battery sensitive to domains of executive function, and the CANTAB cognitive battery were administered. Paired t-tests compared treated and baseline scores.


At week 12, AISRS data showed reduction in total symptoms (-17.5, P < 0.001), inattentive symptoms (-10.6, P < 0.001), and hyperactive symptoms (-6.9, P < 0.01). A total of 44% of subjects had CGI ratings of much or very much improved. Cognitive performance improved in measures of attention, working memory, and other selected executive domains by weeks 6 and 12 (each P < 0.05); simple reaction time declined by week 12 (P < 0.05). There were no severe adverse events, but mild adverse events were common and six subjects discontinued due to adverse effects.


Memantine was largely well-tolerated and associated with improvement in ADHD symptoms and neuropsychological performance. Randomized studies are indicated to confirm whether memantine is a novel therapy for ADHD across the lifespan.

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