Namenda (memantine)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: January 2024 | Last updated: February 2024

Some medicines may be used to help improve the cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Namenda® (memantine) is a prescription drug used to treat moderate to severe dementia in people with Alzheimer’s disease.1,2

While Namenda helps address symptoms of Alzheimer’s, it does not treat the underlying disease or stop the progression of the disease.1,2

Namenda belongs to a class of medicines called N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) inhibitors. It is available as an oral tablet and an extended-release oral tablet.2

What are the ingredients in Namenda?

The active ingredient in Namenda is memantine.1

How does Namenda work?

Namenda works by blocking a chemical messenger called glutamate. Nerve cells damaged by Alzheimer's disease make too much glutamate. The build-up of excess glutamate causes more damage to nerve cells. By blocking the effects of too much glutamate, Namenda protects nerve cells from further damage.2

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects of Namenda include:1,2

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Constipation

These are not all the possible side effects of Namenda. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Namenda. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Namenda.

Other things to know

Before starting treatment with Namenda, tell your doctor if you:2

  • Have or have had seizures
  • Have or have had problems urinating
  • Have or have had bladder or kidney problems
  • Have liver problems
  • Have any other medical issues

There is not enough data to know if Namenda is safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding. Before starting treatment with Namenda, tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding. They can help you decide if Namenda is right for you.2

Namenda can interact with other medicines and cause side effects. Especially tell your doctor if you take:2

  • Other NMDA antagonist drugs like amantadine, ketamine, or dextromethorphan
  • Medicines that make your urine alkaline, such as carbonic anhydrase inhibitors and sodium bicarbonate

Before beginning treatment for Alzheimer's disease, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Namenda.

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Treatment results and side effects can vary from person to person. This treatment information is not meant to replace professional medical advice. Talk to your doctor about what to expect before starting and while taking any treatment.