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What Is Memantine + Donepezil (Namzaric)?

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 of donepezil.2

What is/are the ingredient[s] in memantine + donepezil?

Namzaric contains the active ingredients memantine hydrochloride and donepezil hydrochloride.2 Inactive ingredients can include corn starch, sugar spheres, talc, oleic acid, magnesium stearate, colloidal silicon dioxide, and gelatin, among others.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 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 the doctor about Namzaric. The individual might need to reduce the dose they take. If they are taking any other medications or supplements, tell the doctor. She 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.

Dosing information

The standard recommended dose of Namzaric is 28mg/10mg once daily.2 If a patient misses a dose, do not double up on the next dose; just take the next one as scheduled.

If the patient is currently stabilized on donepezil (10mg daily) and has not been on memantine, the recommended starting dosage of Namzaric is 7mg/10mg, taken once daily at night.2 This should be slowly increased by 7mg increments in the memantine part until the patient is at the recommended dose of 28mg/10mg once a day at night.2 While doing the memantine increase, there should be at least one week between each increase, and the patient should only increase the memantine dosage if the previous dose has been well tolerated.

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.

Talk to the doctor about the dosing schedule and when they think they should increase the doses. Do not increase the dosing without their instruction to do so.

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

Written by: Jaime Rochelle Herndon | Last reviewed: June 2019
  1. Alzheimer’s Association. Medications for Memory. 2019. https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/treatments/medications-for-memory Accessed March 12, 2019.
  2. Namzaric full prescribing information. 2019. https://www.allergan.com/assets/pdf/namzaric_pi Accessed March 12, 2019.