Memantine helps to ease the symptoms of dementia in Alzheimer's disease.
Take it at the same time each day. You can take it before or after meals.
Your dose will be increased over the first few weeks.
|Type of medicine||Anti-dementia medicine (glutamate receptor antagonist)|
|Used for||Symptoms of Alzheimer's disease|
|Available as||Tablets and oral liquid medicine|
In Alzheimer's disease the brain shrinks. Tiny deposits called plaques also form throughout the brain. It is not known why these changes in the brain occur, or exactly how they cause dementia.
Memantine cannot cure Alzheimer's disease, but it can slow down the progression of the symptoms of dementia in some people. It works by reducing the amount of a brain chemical called glutamate. It is thought that this may help to slow down the damage to brain cells affected by Alzheimer's disease.
It is prescribed for people with moderate Alzheimer's disease (but who for some reason cannot take other medicines recommended for Alzheimer's disease) and for people who have severe Alzheimer's disease. It will only be started for people who have a caregiver able to supervise the treatment. If you are the caregiver, please read this leaflet on behalf of the person who is receiving memantine.
Before taking memantine
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking memantine it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you have liver or kidney problems.
- If you have ever had convulsions (fits).
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take memantine
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about memantine and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Your caregiver will help you take your tablets/medicine exactly as your doctor has told you. Take one dose daily.
- Your doctor will start you on a dose of 5 mg and then gradually increase your dose over the next few weeks. This allows your doctor to make sure that you have the dose that helps your condition but avoids any unwanted symptoms.
- You may take memantine at whatever time of day you find easiest to remember, but try to take your doses at the same time each day. This will help you to avoid missing any doses. It can be taken with or without food.
- Doses of the oral medicine must be measured using the dose pump which is supplied with the bottle. When you first open a bottle, attach the pump to the bottle and 'prime' it by pushing the head of the pump down five times. Throw away any solution dispensed as you do this. The next time you use the pump, it will provide a dose of 5 mg every time you push it down fully. Measure out the correct dose on to a spoon or into a glass of water. If you are at all unsure what to do or how to use the pump to measure out the correct dose, ask your pharmacist to show you.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- It may take several weeks before memantine appears to take effect. Continue to take your doses each day unless you are told otherwise by your doctor.
- Keep your regular doctor or clinic appointments so your progress can be assessed.
- If you make any major changes in your diet, let your doctor know. This is because your dose may need adjusting if, for example, you change from a diet that includes meat and vegetables, to one that contains only vegetables.
- Women taking memantine should not become pregnant. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about suitable contraception if this is relevant for you.
- If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking memantine.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
Can memantine cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common memantine side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Constipation||Try to eat a well-balanced diet and drink several glasses of water each day|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller|
|Feeling sleepy or dizzy, difficulties with balance||Take care as you move about. Do not drive or use tools or machines|
|Feeling short of breath, allergic reactions||Let your doctor know about this|
|High blood pressure, changes in your liver function tests||Your doctor will monitor you for these|
How to store memantine
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
- Once opened, a bottle of the medicine only keeps for three months.Do not store it or use it after this time.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Ebixa® 10 mg Film-Coated Tablets; Lundbeck Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated May 2012.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Ebixa® 5 mg/pump actuation oral solution; Lundbeck Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated May 2012.
- British National Formulary; 64th Edition (Sep 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London (links to current BNF)
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Prof Cathy Jackson|
|Last Checked: 16/10/2012||Document ID: 1421 Version: 25||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.