Alzheimers Home > Namenda

Namenda is commonly prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease. While it is not a cure for the condition, the medicine can help improve memory, attention, reason, language, and the ability to perform simple daily tasks. Namenda comes in tablet and liquid form, and is generally taken twice daily. Potential side effects of the drug include dizziness, headache, and constipation.

What Is Namenda?

Namenda® (memantine hydrochloride) is a prescription medication approved to treat moderate to severe dementia caused by Alzheimer's disease. It is not a cure for Alzheimer's, but can help slow down the worsening of Alzheimer's symptoms.
(Click Namenda Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes It?

Namenda is made by Forest Laboratories, Inc.

How Does Namenda Work?

Namenda is classified as an NMDA receptor antagonist. "NMDA" stands for N-methyl-D-asparate. It is thought that some of the symptoms of Alzheimer's may be related to changes in NMDA receptors that allow for abnormal, excessive excitation of the receptors by glutamate (a neurotransmitter brain chemical). Namenda works by binding to the NMDA receptor and preventing excessive excitation by glutamate. Currently, there are no other Alzheimer's medications that work in this way.

Effects of Namenda

Namenda was shown to be effective for Alzheimer's treatment in a few different studies. These studies showed that people taking the drug had a slower rate of decline in cognitive function ("thinking" functions, such as memory, language, and social interaction), compared to people taking a placebo (a "sugar pill" with no active ingredients). Also, people who took Namenda were better able to perform their daily activities of living (such as bathing, dressing, eating, and shopping), compared to those who took the placebo.
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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