What Is Memantine + Donepezil (Namzaric)?

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: June 2022. | Last updated: February 2023

Several kinds of drugs are approved to treat the cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, including certain drugs known as cholinesterase inhibitors and NMDA antagonists. The brand name drug Namzaric is a combination of donepezil, a cholinesterase inhibitor, and memantine, an NMDA antagonist.

Cholinesterase inhibitors help to prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter involved in learning and memory.1 By preventing the breakdown of the chemical, communication between nerve cells in the brain may be improved. Memantine helps regulate the activity of glutamate, which is a chemical involved in information processing.

Namzaric is approved for use with moderate to severe stages of Alzheimer's disease in those who are stabilized on 10mg daily of donepezil.2

What are the ingredients in memantine + donepezil?

Namzaric contains the active ingredients memantine hydrochloride and donepezil hydrochloride.2

How does memantine + donepezil work?

Memantine and donepezil work in two different ways. It is thought that the amino acid glutamate activates NMDA receptors and contributes to Alzheimer's symptoms. Memantine binds to these receptors, preventing the excitatory amino acid from activating the receptors and thus decreasing symptoms.2 Donepezil prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain, keeping larger amounts of the chemical in the brain and possibly facilitating cell communication for learning and memory.1

What are the possible side effects of memantine + donepezil?

The most common adverse side effects of memantine + donepezil include headache, diarrhea, and dizziness.2

Other adverse effects can include constipation, abdominal pain, vomiting, weight gain, sleepiness, anxiety, hypertension, and lack of appetite.2 Increased risk of stomach acid and developing an ulcer have also been reported when taking memantine + donepezil.2

These are not all the possible side effects of memantine + donepezil. Patients should talk to their doctor about what to expect with treatment with memantine + donepezil.

If any side effects are experienced from taking the medication, let the doctor know immediately. Sometimes these resolve on their own once the body gets used to the medication, but sometimes they persist, and if bothersome enough, the drug may need to be discontinued. If a patient is taking any other medications or supplements, tell the doctor, in order to avoid any adverse drug interactions.

Things to know about memantine + donepezil

If the patient has renal impairment, talk with a doctor about Namzaric. The person might need to reduce the dose they take. If they are taking any other medications or supplements, tell the doctor. Your doctor can determine whether it’s safe for the patient to take Namzaric while taking any other medications they may be on, or if there are adverse effects of which they should be aware. Additionally, patients should tell their doctor if they have any cardiac issues or history of ulcers before starting. Patients that have a history of asthma should let their doctor know before starting as the drug can worsen lung problems.

The medication can be taken with or without food, and if need be, the capsules can be opened and sprinkled in food like applesauce. The entire capsule or its contents should be consumed; do not split the dosage in half at all. The medication should not be crushed or chewed.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of memantine + donepezil.

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