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Pharmacol Toxicol. 1993 Jun;72(6):394-7.

Potential antidepressive properties of amantadine, memantine and bifemelane.

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  • 1Merz+Co, Eckenheimer, Frankfurt, Germany.


The effects of amantadine, its dimethyl derivative, memantine and the chemically unrelated compound bifemelane were tested for antidepressant activity. Reserpine-induced hypothermia and the forced swim test (Porsolt test) were selected for this purpose. In the former test amantadine and bifemelane but not memantine were effective. In the forced swim test all three agents produced antidepressive-like activity (decreased immobility time), but in case of bifemelane it was less pronounced. The effect in the forced swim test was specific i.e. it was apparently not the result of an increase in general activity as evidenced by control experiments in the open field. The mechanism of amantadine and memantine action may involve indirect dopaminomimetic activity resulting from the blockade of NMDA receptors. However in reserpine-induced hypothermia this explanation is not valid considering the lack of effect of memantine and positive action of amantadine. Hence, amantadine may have an additional central sympathomimetic action that memantine is lacking. Bifemelane antidepressant-like activity might be attributed to an enhancement of noradrenergic transmission. We suggested that amantadine and bifemelane could be particularly useful therapeutically when depressive symptoms are present in patients suffering from Parkinson's disease and dementia.

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