Beat brain aging with Memantine

Memantine is an Alzheimer’s Disease treatment that has substantial benefits for older people in general. It is known to improve memory concentration, enhance vigilance, boost concentration and improve short term memory.

In addition to being a proven Alzheimer’s Disease treatment, Memantine is useful for treating people who have not been diagnosed with a specific senile dementia, but who have general mental decline. Clinical trials have also indicated its benefits as a Parkinsons Disease treatment.

As Memantine is known to improve short term memory and concentration in Alzheimer’s sufferers, it follows there are potential uses for other diseases involving cognitive decline. Recent clinical trials have revealed its benefits as a Parkinsons disease treatment, and it is also believed to protect brain and nerve cells in people with alcohol dependence.

How does Memantine work?

Memantine is derived from a naturally occurring compound called adamantine, which is found in teeth and other bony parts of the body.

Memantine works in a very different way to most existing drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s. Other treatments involve inhibiting an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase, which breaks down the brain neurotransmitter – acetylcholine. It is acetylcholine that is badly affected in Alzheimer’s sufferers.

Memantine, however, appears to work by protecting the brain’s nerve cells against glutamate, which is a chemical released in excess by cells damaged by Alzheimer’s or other neurological disorders.

Glutamate plays an essential role in learning and memory by triggering NMDA receptors to allow a controlled amount of calcium to flow into the nerve cells. Too much glutamate, however, over stimulates the receptors, leading to the neuronal cell death that is common to all degenerative diseases.

Alzheimer’s glutamate binds to receptors in the brain, allowing calcium to flow freely into the cell, a process known as ‘overexcitation.’ Chronic overexposure to calcium in turn leads to cell degeneration. Memantine is believed to work by preventing this destructive process by blocking the action of  Alzheimer’s glutamate at NMDA receptor sites.

Memantine in the war against aging

Memantine offers benefits to non Alzheimer’s sufferers too. It is a useful anti-aging agent in general, providing improvements in memory, attention, reason and concentration.

There are daily factors in our lives that cause over stimulation of NMDA receptors. Many of them are believed to be down to diet – food stuffs such as some artificial sweeteners, flavour enhancers (especially MSG) and even hydrolyzed vegetable proteins.

Memantine helps avoid the aging effects of overexciting our brain receptors by regulating the activity of glutamate. It is an extremely useful preventative medicine in the war against aging, improving memory, learning and general mental functioning.

Where’s the proof?

There have been a number of clinical studies into Memantine and Alzheimer’s disease. One study, conducted using a double-blind, placebo-controlled method, concluded that Memantine was safe and effective in treating Alzheimer’s, vascular and mixed dementia of varying severity.

A French study involving 321 geriatric patients in 2002, summed up its findings after 28 weeks of treatment, by saying: “Patients with mild to moderate dementia had improved cognition consistently at 20mg/day Memantine, with no deterioration in functioning and behaviour.” It added, “Memantine was devoid of concerning side effects.”

Memantine is quick to take effect, and in a study of 66 patients, aged 65 to 80, all suffering from mild to moderate dementia, significant improvements were noted after just 14 days. By 42 days, the study reported that, “It was particularly striking in the daily-living tests, of the patients considerable improvement achieved in the quality of performing tasks under Memantine treatment.”

Perhaps most significant of all is Memantine’s performance in late-stage Alzheimer’s disease, where other treatments are currently unavailable. A Swedish study in 1999 reported that, ‘The results of the trial support that Memantine treatment leads to functional improvement and reduces care dependence in severely demented patients.”

How should I take Memantine?

Memantine can be taken in addition to other Alzheimer’s drugs, such as Aricept, Exelon and Reminyl (galantamine) as it works in a very different way. 20mg per day of Memantine is the recommended dosage, gradually increased from 5mg to 20mg over four weeks.


Frequently Asked Questions About Memantine

Disclaimer: Please note that only your own physician can determine your precise needs, but in order to give you some information these answers are based upon the ‘average person’ and clinical / published results.

I have read that people have used Memantine for alcoholism but I am unable to find any additional information, do you have any knowledge of this use and any further information?

Thank you for your interesting questions regarding alcoholism and memantine. Unfortunately, at present we are not aware of any clients / persons who are using it for this purpose.

That said I thought I’d list the abstracts from three published articles below, all of which involve memantine and alcohol as they may give you more information to go on:

In addition, there are (as you probably know) also links between serotonin and alcoholism. Studies with humans and animals over the past 35 years have shown that 5-HT (serotonin) nerve circuits promote feelings of well-being, calm, personal security, relaxation, confidence and concentration. 5-HT neural circuits also help counterbalance the tendency of overactive (e.g. due to genetics, stress or drugs) DA and NA circuits to encourage over arousal, fear, anger, tension, aggression and violence, obsessive compulsive actions, anxiety and sleep disturbance. A deficiency of 5-HT nerve action has been shown to manifest as a broad array of emotional and behavioral problems, ranging from depression, premenstrual syndrome, anxiety, alcoholism and overeating to compulsive gambling, fire-starting, thrill-seeking through violence and suicide.

There is rarely a problem with the structure or ‘wiring’ of the brain's 5-HT circuits. Rather the problem is caused by a chronic deficit of 5-HT in the nerves which use it as their neurotransmitter. It is no coincidence that the most popular psychiatric drugs in history are the SSRIs, and the common thread connecting MAOIs, TCAs, and SSRIs is their 5-HT neural effects. 5-HT is the "Achilles heel" of the human brain. Yet no neuron suffered a literal deficiency of these xenobiotic drug molecules. 5-HT neurons can, and frequently do, however, suffer a deficit of the raw material from which neurons normally produce 5-HT: the essential amino acid tryptophan (Tryp).

To this end, the aminoacids L-tryptophan and 5HTP (5-hydroxy-tryptophan) have been used to ‘treat’ alcoholism, although that may be more along the lines to treat the ‘obsessive compulsive disorder.’ We have two articles about these aminoacids which do mention something about this in them, as follows:

In addition, the following two Nootropics (Centrophenoxine and Pyritnol) have also been used in Europe to help “control” alcoholism. You may find there differing methods of action interesting, although I do suspect that the improvement is more along the lines of improved memory/ concentration, perhaps as a result of the alcoholism rather than as a preventative to alcohol itself.

Memantine and alcoholism

The following was published in: Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2004 Feb;172(1):16-24. Epub 2003 Oct 3. Acute effects of memantine in combination with alcohol in moderate drinkers. Bisaga A, Evans SM. Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, USA.

RATIONALE: Alcohol effects in humans involve N-methyl- d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor-mediated glutamatergic neurotransmission. It has been proposed that NMDA receptor antagonists may be effective in the treatment of alcohol dependence. OBJECTIVE: This study evaluated the acute effects of memantine, an NMDA receptor antagonist, on the subjective, physiological, and performance effects of alcohol in moderate (10-30 drinks per week) alcohol drinkers. METHODS: Eighteen volunteers without alcohol dependence were tested using a double-blind design with three 3-day long inpatient phases separated by at least a 2-week wash-out period. Memantine (0, 15, and 30 mg) was administered 4 h before alcohol (1.5 g/l body water), which was given in four divided doses every 20 min. RESULTS: Pretreatment with memantine attenuated the craving for alcohol before alcohol administration, but not after alcohol was given. Memantine increased the dissociative effects of alcohol, without altering its sedative, stimulant, and overall intoxicating effects. Memantine also did not affect alcohol-induced impairment in performance, physiological changes, or pharmacokinetics. Memantine increased subjective reports of dissociation, confusion, and stimulation, and impaired motor coordination on the balance task. CONCLUSIONS: Memantine was well tolerated in combination with alcohol. The findings suggest that NMDA receptor neurotransmission may be involved in alcohol craving and alcohol-induced subjective dissociative effects.

The following was published in Eur J Pharmacol. 1996 Oct 31;314(3)

Evidence for alcohol anti-craving properties of memantine.
Holter SM, Danysz W, Spanagel R.
Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Drug Abuse Group, Munich, Germany.

Rats consuming alcohol voluntarily for a long time show increased alcohol consumption after a phase of alcohol deprivation and this might reflect increased craving for alcohol. Administration of memantine (1-amino-3,5-dimethyl-adamantane), a clinically used uncompetitive NDMA receptor antagonist, resulted in a significant reduction of the alcohol deprivation effect without any sedative, dysphoric or stimulant side-effects. The dose of memantine used (4.8 mg/day) resulted in serum levels close to the therapeutic range in humans. These results indicate that memantine may have therapeutical potential as an anti-craving drug for alcohol.

The following was published in IDrugs. 2004 Apr;7(4):339-50.

Renaissance of NMDA receptor antagonists: do they have a role in the pharmacotherapy for alcoholism? Nagy J. Gedeon Richter Ltd, Pharmacological and Drug Safety Research, PO Box 27, Budapest 10, H-1475 Hungary.

Long-term alcohol exposure leads to the development of alcohol dependence, which is possibly induced by changes in specific neurotransmitter functions. Accumulating evidence suggests that the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) type of ionotropic glutamate receptor is a particularly important site of action for ethanol. Ethanol potently and selectively inhibits NMDA receptors (NMDARs) and prolonged ethanol exposure produces a compensatory 'upregulation' of NMDAR functions. These changes are believed to underlie the development of ethanol tolerance and dependence as well as acute and delayed signs of withdrawal. Therefore, negative modulators of NMDARs may be useful agents for the pharmacotherapy of alcoholism. NMDAR antagonists attenuate not only the physical symptoms but also some affective and motivational components of alcohol withdrawal. Encouraging experimental results have been obtained with novel uncompetitive (memantine and neramexane (Merz & Co GmbH/Forest Laboratories Inc)), glycine site and NR2B subunit-selective NMDA antagonists (SSNAs). Recently emerged NR2B SSNAs (CP-101606 (Pfizer Inc), Co-101244 (Pfizer Inc/Purdue Neuroscience Corp/Senju Pharmaceutical Co Ltd), CI-1041 (Purdue Neuroscience Corp/Pfizer Inc) and indole-2-carboxamide derivatives) have demonstrated excellent in vitro potency against withdrawal-induced cytotoxicity. Although in vivo data are few, according to their in vitro efficacy and good tolerability, novel NMDA antagonists, especially the NR2B-selective antagonists, may offer a preferable alternative to the presently available pharmacotherapies for treating alcoholism.


Take 20mg per day. To lower the risk of side effects the daily dosage should gradually be increased from 5mg to 20mg over four weeks. Memantine can be taken with other Alzheimer’s drugs such as Aricept, Exelon, and Reminyl (galantamine), as it works in a different manner.


Memantine use should be carefully monitored by your doctor if you have a history of seizures or have recently had a heart attack, kidney disease or untreated hypertension. Memantine may interact with some other drugs such as Dextromethorphane, Cimetidine, procainamide, hydrochlorothiazide, anticholinergics, anticonvulsives, barbituates or dopaminergic antagonists like L-dopa or Parlodel (bromocriptine). Make sure the doctor knows what else the person with dementia is taking.

What our customers say...

Memantine is the first Alzheimer's drug that shows promise in the late stages of the disease. To my way of thinking, this is a sign that the process of excitotoxicity plays a role in the development of the disease, and thus methods such as Memantine's pharmacological action could be useful as a preventative too.
Robert Mason PhD, Gibraltar


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What our customers say

Memantine is the first Alzheimer's drug that shows promise in the late stages of the disease. To my way of thinking, this is a sign that the process of excitotoxicity plays a role in the development of the disease, and thus methods such as Memantine's pharmacological action could be useful as a preventative too.
Robert Mason PhD, Gibraltar

Robert Mason PhD
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