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Generic Name:

memantine, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Namenda
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for memantine

Oral tablet
1

Memantine is an oral drug that’s used to treat moderate to severe dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

2

Your dose depends on the form of the drug you’re taking and other health conditions that you have. Your doctor will decide a dose that’s right for you.

3

Common side effects include dizziness, headaches, constipation, and confusion.

4

This drug may raise your risk of seizures. Tell your doctor if you’re taking any medications for seizures.

5

Certain medications (carbonic anhydrase inhibitors and sodium bicarbonate) can increase in the pH level of your urine. This increases the level of memantine in your blood and leads to more side effects.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Seizures warning

This drug may increase your risk of seizures. Tell your doctor if you’re taking any medications to treat seizures.

Kidney/Liver problems dosage

If you have or develop serious kidney or liver problems, your dose may need to be adjusted.

Drug features

This drug is a prescription drug. It’s available in these forms: immediate-release tablet, oral solution, and extended-release capsule.

Only the immediate-release tablets are available in a generic form. Generic drugs usually cost less. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if the generic will work for you.

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you need to take it with other drugs to treat dementia associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Why it's used

This drug is used to treat moderate to severe dementia in adults with Alzheimer’s disease.

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called NMDA receptor antagonists.

More Details

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called NMDA receptor antagonists. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They have a similar chemical structure and are often used to treat similar conditions.

The cause of Alzheimer’s disease isn’t fully understood. People with the disease may be overexposed to the chemical glutamate. This is thought to cause damage to the brain cells in people with Alzheimer’s disease. This drug 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 your symptoms of dementia.

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memantine Side Effects

Oral tablet

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with memantine include:

  • dizziness

  • headache

  • confusion

  • constipation

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening, or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:

    • swelling of your tongue, lips, or face
    • shortness of breath
    • skin rash
    • hives
  • seizures or convulsions

  • inflammation of the liver (hepatitis). Symptoms may include:

    • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
  • inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis). Symptoms may include:

    • severe nausea
    • severe abdominal pain
  • change in mental health. Symptoms may include:

    • hallucinations
    • thoughts of suicide
  • congestive heart failure. Symptoms may include:

    • shortness of breath
    • swelling in your feet and ankles
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug may cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 5

memantine May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

This drug can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Medications That Might Interact with This Drug

Drugs used to treat glaucoma
  • acetazolamide
  • methazolamide

These drugs can increase the amount of memantine in your body. This can lead to more side effects.

Sodium bicarbonate

This drug can increase the amount of memantine in your body. This can lead to more side effects.

Parkinson’s disease medication
  • amantadine

This drug works similarly to memantine. Taking them together may lead to more side effects.

Anesthesia medication
  • ketamine

This drug works similarly to memantine. Taking them together may lead to more side effects.

Cough medication
  • dextromethorphan

This drug works similarly to memantine. Taking them together may lead to more side effects.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Drug warnings
kidney problems
People with kidney problems

If your kidneys aren’t working well, more of this drug may stay in your body longer. This puts you at greater risk for side effects. If you have severe kidney problems, your doctor may reduce your dose of this drug.

liver problems
People with liver problems

Tell your doctor if you have a history of severe liver problems. If your liver isn’t working well, more of this drug may stay in your body longer. This puts you at greater risk for side effects.

seizure disorders
People with seizure disorders

This drug may increase your risk of having a seizure.

pregnant woman
Pregnant women

This drug is a pregnancy category B drug. That means two things:

  1. Studies of the drug in pregnant animals haven’t shown risk to the fetus.
  2. There aren’t enough studies done in pregnant women to show the drug poses a risk to the fetus.

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. This drug should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

breast-feeding
Women who are breast-feeding

It isn’t known if this drug passes through breast milk. If it does, it may cause serious effects in a breastfeeding child.

Talk to your doctor if you’re currently taking this drug and you’re thinking about breastfeeding.

seniors
For seniors

Older adults may process this drug more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal in your body. You may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

for children
For children

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in children younger than 18 years old.

allergies
Allergies

This drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:

  • itching
  • hives
  • rash
  • peeling or blistering skin
  • swelling of your tongue, lips, or face
  • trouble breathing

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal.

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How to Take memantine (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Alzheimer’s disease

Brand: Namenda

Form: Oral immediate-release tablet
Strengths: 5 mg, 10 mg
Form: Oral solution
Strength: 2mg/mL

Brand: Namenda XR

Form: Oral extended-release capsule
Strengths: 7 mg, 14 mg, 21 mg, and 28 mg

Generic: memantine

Form: Oral immediate-release tablet
Strengths: 5 mg, 10 mg
Form: Oral solution
Strength: 2mg/mL
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

Oral immediate-release tablet and oral solution:

  • starting dose: 5 mg taken by mouth one time per day, then it will be increased to twice per day.
  • maximum dose: 20 mg per day

Extended-release capsule:

  • starting dose: 7 mg taken by mouth one time per day.
  • target dose: 28 mg per day.
  • Your doctor will tell you how to increase your dose to reach 28 mg per day.
Child dosage (ages 0-17 years)

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in children under 18 years old.

Special considerations

Kidney problems: If you have severe kidney issues, your doctor may reduce your dose of memantine.

Warnings

If you’re switching from the memantine immediate-release tablet or solution to the extended-release capsule, 5 mg twice per day of the immediate-release tablet or solution can be switched to 14 mg of the extended-release capsule the next day. Also, 10 mg twice per day of the immediate-release tablet or solution can be switched to 28 mg of the extended-release capsule.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug comes with serious risks if you don't take it as prescribed.

If you take too much

If you take too much of this drug, you may be at higher risk of experiencing side effects such as agitation, confusion, hallucinations, slowed heart rate, increased blood pressure, dizziness, unsteadiness, fainting, fatigue, or weakness. Call your doctor or poison control center right away, or go to the emergency room.

What to do if you miss a dose

If you miss your dose of this drug, skip that dose and take your next dose as scheduled. 

Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could cause toxic side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

You may be able to tell if this drug is working if your mental function gets better. Your ability to perform your simple, everyday tasks may improve. 

However, this drug isn’t a cure. All people with Alzheimer’s disease get worse over time, even if they take medications to help treat it.

This drug is used for long-term treatment.

You can crush or cut the immediate-release tablet

Don’t divide, chew, or crush the capsules.

Store this drug at room temperature

Keep it at 59–77°F (15–25°C).

Don’t freeze this drug.

Keep this drug away from light and high temperature.

Keep your drugs away from areas where they could get wet, such as bathrooms. Store this drug away from moisture and damp locations.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you or in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt this medication.
  • You may need to show your pharmacy’s label to clearly identify the medication. Keep the original prescription label with you when traveling.
  • Don’t leave this medicine in the car, especially when the temperature is hot or freezing.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor will monitor your cognitive function and check your kidney and/or liver function while you’re taking this medication.

Insurance

Many insurance companies will require a prior authorization before they approve the prescription and pay for this drug.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.

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How Much Does memantine Cost?

Oral tablet

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Lowest price for memantine

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Safeway $23.26
These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for memantine on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for memantine on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on November 23, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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