Memantine: Usage, Dosage, and Side Effects

Memantine is prescribed for moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's disease.
Memantine: Usage, Dosage, and Side Effects

Memantine is a prescription drug that is used to slow the neurotoxicity believed to be involved in Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. It belongs to a class of drugs called NMDA receptor antagonists and works by blocking the receptors in the brain that glutamate would normally bind to. This decreases the harmful effect of glutamate in the brain and may help improve the symptoms of dementia. It’s available in three forms: immediate-release tablet, oral solution, and extended-release capsule.

  • Memantine is sold in the United States under the following brands: Namenda and Namenda XR.
  • For the UK, the Ebixa, Nemdatine, and Valios brands are used.
  • In Canada: Ebixa and Namenda.
  • In Australia: Apotex.

This is not a complete list of brands, but just some of them.

How it works

Memantine works by blocking the NMDA receptor subtype of glutamate receptors, which are essential for learning and memory. Excessive activation of these receptors can lead to neuronal damage and contribute to various neurological disorders, including dementia. By entering the receptor-associated ion channel when it is excessively open, memantine prevents or protects against further damage from neuronal cell death induced by excitotoxicity. This makes it useful for slowing the neurotoxicity believed to be involved in Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Who can take memantine

Memantine is typically prescribed for adults with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease, but it can also be used for other conditions such as dementia, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. It’s important to note that memantine may not be suitable for everyone, and it’s essential to speak with a healthcare professional before starting treatment. They will assess your medical history and determine if memantine is the right medication for your particular condition.

Prescribing information

Before taking memantine, it is important to read and understand the full prescribing information provided by your healthcare provider. This medication comes in various forms, including tablets, solutions, and capsules. Dosage instructions may vary depending on the severity of the condition being treated and other medical conditions the patient may have. It is important to follow directions carefully and not exceed the prescribed amount. Additionally, patients should be aware of potential side effects and interactions with other medications or medical conditions.

Information verified by the team.

Medical Uses of Memantine

Alzheimer’s Disease

Memantine is most commonly used to treat moderate to severe confusion related to Alzheimer’s disease. While it is not a cure for this type of dementia, it may help to improve memory, awareness, and the ability to perform daily functions. It works by blocking the action of a natural substance in the brain called glutamate that is believed to be linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Consult with your doctor to find out if memantine may be an appropriate treatment option for you or a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.


Memantine is commonly used in the treatment of dementia, as well as other neurodegenerative diseases. It works by blocking a certain natural substance in the brain believed to be linked to neurotoxicity. Dementia can affect a person’s memory, communication, and daily activities. While memantine may improve these symptoms, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine if it is the right treatment option for you or a loved one.

Multiple sclerosis

Memantine has also been used to treat cognitive impairment associated with multiple sclerosis. A randomized placebo-controlled trial aimed to determine if memantine could improve cognitive performance in individuals with MS. However, the study found that memantine did not improve cognitive function in subjects with MS who reported subjective cognitive complaints. Memantine was found to have more fatigue and neurological adverse effects than the placebo group.

Parkinson’s disease

Memantine has been studied for its effects in treating patients with Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). While the results of placebo-controlled trials have varied, there have been significant benefits observed in some studies, particularly in improving global clinical status and behavioral symptoms of patients with mild to moderate DLB. Memantine may be a potential treatment option for these patients.

Possible Side Effects of Memantine

Common side effects

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Constipation

It’s important to note that while these side effects of memantine may appear common, they can still be severe for some individuals. Always consult with your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms or have concerns about the use of this medication. Remember, your health is worth taking the time to address any potential issues.

Uncommon side effects

Besides common side effects like constipation and headaches, Memantine may also cause some uncommon side effects. These may include severe headaches, seizures, unusual mood changes, and even vision problems. While these side effects are rare, it’s important to speak with your doctor immediately if you experience any of them while taking Memantine. Remember that your healthcare provider will have weighed the risks and benefits before prescribing you this medication.

Severe side effects

While memantine is generally safe for use, severe side effects can occur in rare cases. These may include confusion, slurred speech, arm or leg weakness, trouble walking, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady, very stiff muscles, high fever and more. If you experience any of these symptoms while taking memantine, seek medical attention right away. It’s important to remember that the benefits of taking memantine typically outweigh the risks, so don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any concerns you may have.

What to do if side effects occur

If you experience any side effects while taking memantine, it is important to notify your doctor right away. Depending on the severity of the side effects, they may reduce your dosage or switch you to a different medication. It is crucial to follow your doctor’s instructions and not stop taking memantine abruptly without consulting them first.

Precautions while taking Memantine

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

It is not recommended to take memantine during pregnancy unless absolutely necessary as there is no information on its effects. Although animal studies have shown no evidence of harm, there are no controlled studies in humans. It is also not recommended for breastfeeding women as it may be excreted in human milk and its effects on nursing infants are unknown. It is important to consult with your healthcare provider before taking memantine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Geriatric considerations

When prescribing memantine, geriatric patients should be considered as their age may affect the medication’s effectiveness or increase side effects. The appropriate dosage should be determined by the doctor and treatment should be followed closely to avoid adverse effects. Patients should inform their doctor if they have liver or kidney impairment, as well as any other medical conditions they have. It’s important to take memantine as directed and not change the dosage without consulting with a healthcare professional.

Interactions with other drugs

Memantine interacts with 43 medications, including metformin, hydrochlorothiazide, and acyclovir. Before taking Memantine, it is important to inform your doctor of any medications you are currently taking to avoid any potential interactions. Your doctor may need to adjust the dosage or switch to an alternative medication to avoid adverse effects. Always seek medical advice before starting or stopping any medication.

Medical conditions to consider

Before taking memantine, it’s important to inform your doctor of any medical conditions you may have. This includes kidney or liver problems, as well as any history of allergic reactions to medications. People with urinary tract issues or liver disease should use memantine with caution. Additionally, be sure to discuss any medication interactions with your doctor, as there are certain drugs that can increase the risk of side effects when taken with memantine.

Dosage instructions

The dosage instructions for memantine depend on the patient’s condition, the form of the medication, and any other medical conditions they may have. Doctors typically start with a low dosage and gradually increase it until the desired effect is achieved. The final dosage will be tailored to each patient’s needs. Memantine has not been established as safe or effective for use in children. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully and not to change your dosage without consulting them first.

For the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, there are different oral dosage forms available. Extended-release capsules can be taken orally by adults starting with 7 milligrams (mg) once a day, with the possibility of increased dosage as needed, but usually not exceeding 28 mg per day.

For children, the appropriate dosage and use needs to be determined by their doctor. Alternatively, solutions and tablets can be taken orally, with a starting dose of 5 mg once a day for adults. As needed, the dose can be gradually increased, but usually not more than 10 mg two times a day. 

Again, dosage and use for children must be determined by their doctor. 

Duration of use

The duration of use for memantine varies depending on the individual’s condition and response to treatment. It is important to follow the dosage instructions provided by your doctor and not exceed the recommended duration of use. Some individuals may require long-term treatment while others may only need it for a shorter period. It is important to discuss any concerns or questions about the duration of use with your healthcare provider.

Summary of key points

In summary, memantine is a medication used to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. It works by decreasing abnormal activity in the brain, which can improve cognitive abilities in patients. However, it may cause side effects such as dizziness, confusion, and aggression. Before taking memantine, patients should consult with their doctors, particularly regarding dosage instructions, drug interactions, and medical conditions to consider. Patients should follow their prescription label and inform their healthcare professional about any allergies or unusual symptoms.


Sources used for this article include MedlinePlus, a website run by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, and, a comprehensive drug information resource. Both sources offer detailed information on memantine, its uses, and potential side effects. Information from these sources was carefully selected and analyzed to provide an accurate and informative article on memantine.

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